Black Friday is all well and good, but it doesn't come close to the warmth and magic of a traditional Christmas
Black Friday has shown fascinating comparisons between Northern Ireland and elsewhere.
In the UK, the shopping centres were quieter than in the past, although there was later a surge of online activity.
Thankfully, there was no repeat of the madness seen in the USA, where two people died in incidents in New Jersey and Nevada.
Here, Black Friday started slowly, but retailers reported a healthy day's trading, and there was no repeat of the disturbing scenes of several years ago when people were caught up in scrums, sometimes resulting in injuries.
While there is much more to the Christmas build-up than commercialism, it was good to see our cities and towns crammed with shoppers, and to know that people buying presents for loved ones were getting value for their money.
Some shoppers said that they wanted to savour the bustling atmosphere, and this was reassuring for traders who have been facing competition from the internet.
However, it cannot match the Christmas atmosphere of festive crowds, window shopping, music and Santas.
Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned from Black Friday. The fact that a number of high street chains crowd their Christmas shelves even before the end of Halloween can be counter-productive.
Perhaps people would prefer a more concentrated period of festive activity, and the challenge for retailers is to make that experience even better and worth repeating.
Retailers face many challenges, including internet shopping, parking charges and rates.
The internet is indeed efficient, but how can a purchase delivered in a cardboard box compete with a visit to the shops and the Christmas markets?
With Belfast and other places festooned ,it is not hard to feel the seasonal magic. Yesterday was a good day for our traders, but it is still hard to beat Christmas shopping.