If I recall correctly, "Black Friday" got its name for being the day each year that retailers finally make it into the black (become profitable.)
It's always been controversial, a symbol of runaway consumerism. This year, the 20th anniversary of "Buy Nothing Day", may have set a new low, as a California shopper who wanted an Xbox 360 used pepper spray to disperse dozens of other shoppers (details here.)
Occupy Wall Street protesters intended to deny profits to the 1% with "Occupy Black Friday", which apparently inspired a Philadelphia group affiliated with the Tea party movement to support Black Friday with a competing "BUYcott". Personally, I cannot imagine any Tea partisan thinking deficit spending is any wiser for individuals and households than for Congress and the President.
For me, Black Friday was a beautiful sunny cool 30 mile bicycle ride with our local bicycle club for a light lunch, followed by another shorter tandem ride with the Middlewife. I've always tried to avoid shopping on Black Friday as a spiritual discipline, but did forget and reorder some supplies we're about out of from Sodastream this evening. (For anyone who likes carbonated drinks, Sodastream is a wonderfully economical and ecological alternative to hauling them home from a grocery store -- but you might want to wait until tomorrow before placing an order.)