Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Well, it's over.

Our annual day to think about what we are thankful for is past... now it's time for our materialism and greed to take over in a grasping, mad rush to buy up all the wonderful things we think we need.

Unlike a lot of posts, I haven't really rehearsed this one in my mind. I got up this morning and decided to write this, so it probably won't be as poetic as some of my other, well thought out posts.

I opened my email this morning and found about 50 messages from different businesses announcing their black Friday specials. I couldn't help but feel a little dirty. To think that our nation has capitalized on the materialism of Christmas this way. I had to explain what black Friday was to my son a few days ago.

Instead of venting, I'd like to issue a challenge. Before you go into a store today, think of ten things you are thankful for. I'm talking about 10 things for each store you visit. Or, if you're a cyber shopper, make a list of 10 things before you log onto a new store. Before you plunk down your hard earned money, think about a few things...

1) Are you buying this for yourself because you think it will make you happy?

If so, do you remember what you bought yourself last year around this time? Odds are you'll get a quick fix and then, like an addict, you'll want more.

2) Are you buying this as a Christmas gift for someone you are close to?

If you really have a good relationship, there is probably something more personal and meaningful you could get them. My best friend and I decided were were going to exchange gifts that were either second hand, or hand-made this year. Because, if you really love someone, it will mean so much more to receive something with meaning, than just another trinket picked up in a rush.

3) Are you buying this for someone you have on your list who you just want to show some appreciation to?

A lot of us have folks on our Christmas lists who we aren't really close to, but want to give a little something to make them feel appreciated. I have a lot of people like that on my list. My children's teachers and coaches, ladies who have mentored me, the folks in leadership at my church who serve me every week. While I don't hang out with them one-on-one very much, I still like to show them my appreciation each Christmas.

Instead of buying a bunch of made in China junk for a couple of dollars, why not make them something. Last year I made a salt scrub for the ladies in my life. I think it took me about 10 minutes to mix it up. The most expensive part was the oil I used. I've found pretty jars in thrift stores for as little as 50 cents. For the men in my life I made chocolate dipped pretzel rods. My children made them for their uncles. If they can make them, anyone can. If your reason for not making something is that you don't have the time, then you probably shouldn't be standing in long check-out lines on black Friday.

4) This is probably the hardest one to admit, and the most prevalent in our society... Are you buying something to impress someone?

The truth is, if you're trying to impress someone it's not going to work. It never does. If you're trying to prove that you're rich, then you certainly can't admit that you bought it on black Friday at a deep discount. If you're trying to make someone like you, you should know by now that you can't buy love. The best way to impress someone is to be so confident that you are no longer tossed around by someone's opinions. The best way to make someone like you is to show them kindness. The fact of the matter is, people who make you feel inferior or push your affections away are most often struggling with their own self worth.

So, I hope you enjoy your Christmas holidays, but please, please don't get sucked into the vortex of materialistic holiday greed. I love you all too much to let that happen without at least a small attempt at rescue.

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