My stepdaughter works retail in the mall. She is already sick of “christmas”. (I intentionally used a lower case “c” there. She isn’t sick of Christmas, just the shopping and hype of it all.) They’ve had Christmas decorations up since before Halloween. In fact, she has a picture of kids trick-or-treating in the mall with holiday decorations in the background.
Stores are announcing their “Black Friday” sales that begin at 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day.
Six years ago, this country went through one of the worst recessions it has seen since the Great Depression. But for the last two years or so we’ve been hearing commercials telling us to get the credit “we deserve” so we can buy home latte machines or better cars that we “deserve”.
Have you ever seen someone trying so hard to have fun that they are miserable? That’s what it seems like we’re all doing right now. We want to convince ourselves that if we rush out and buy that extra television or coffee maker, we’ll be “happy”. And we have to start even earlier or be more desperate to get a “great deal” on something that was made in China. Because that is what “christmas” is all about. (Again, lower case “c”.)
I’ve always loved Thanksgiving and the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a pretty magical with parties, decorations and time with family. In the last few weeks/months, I’ve had some family challenges…health issues and such. Most of it is just life, of course. But rather than worrying about those challenges, I want to focus on the positives.
Thanksgiving is for being thankful for what we have. It was created as a holiday to be thankful for a great harvest…back when we were farmers. Now it is a time to pause and think about the real things we have. And by real, I don’t mean flat screens and electronic gadgets. Some of that stuff only lasts a year or so and then it has to be upgraded or replaced. Real is a warm place to sleep, family, friends, enough to eat. The rest is just window dressing.
It is also a time to think about those who don’t have those basics. Take some of that money you are going to “save” on Black Thursday/Friday and buy a gift for a kid who wouldn’t get one. Or donate some food/money to a food bank.
Lastly, think about holding back some of that gift money you plan to spend and shopping at a local/privately owned store instead of standing in line to shop at a big box for a “deal” that was made in China. Buy something special and unique from an artist or craftsperson in your neighborhood. That money stays at home and helps a struggling business stay afloat. It also marks you as a sophisticated gift giver.
Take a moment to pause and be thankful for what you have.