Call me a dork, if you like, but I CANNOT for the life of me understand WHY we'd have a day of THANKSGIVING followed by a frenetic weekend of consumerism & blatant commercialism.
The next 28days are going to be hectic....by our design...folks running back n forth trying to find the perfect Christmas gift for people on their lists, attending party after party, standing in line for hours to ship things in the mail, and never stopping to relax and enjoy the reason this time of year is really for.
I've never been a fan of Black Friday...I've done it TWICE in twenty years and regretted both times. The last time was 2001 and I swore never again. I stood for half an hour in line, while the woman behind me repeatedly banged her shopping cart into my back, hips, and legs. I lost it, tossed the items I was going to purchase onto a nearby shelf and told her flat out that I was going to forget that I was a Christian for five minutes and shove that shopping cart right up her backside if she didn't knock it off. People around me clapped, while she looked at me like I was nuts, then I left & went home to my family. Right where I should have been all along.
Guess folks really don't have a gratitude attitude after all. People are rude, disrespectful, and sometimes downright mean when it comes to getting that last item on the shelf. That desire to be there first and say they got it at the best bargain price...yeah, you may have, but at what cost? Lost sleep, gas & mileage on your car driving all over the place, fighting the crowds in the name of getting a good price, and more importantly...missing precious time with your family. I'm sorry, to me it's just not worth it.
I'm HUGE on hunting for bargains...you can ask anyone that knows me. I'm a thrift store junkie. If I can find it on the side of the road for free and still usable, that's even better. I enjoy making things with my own two hands. Always have. I also know that the truest gifts you give to someone come from the heart NOT the wallet or the fanciest stores.
Love, kindness, respect, generosity of spirit, & your time...those are the gifts that truly matter this time of year. Heck, let's be honest here, they matter ALL times of the year, not just in that little 28day window that makes people feel all warm and fuzzy.
You want to do something meaningful this year...something that will REALLY give you the warm fuzzies? Donate that money you'd spend on expensive electronics for your kids to a children's charity - St Jude's, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Distrophy Association, Muscular Sclerosis, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, The Shriners Hospitals, Ronald McDonald House...KNOW in your heart that you helped someone that would appreciate another day on this planet with their families.
You just feel that you HAVE to buy a gift for your neighbors that you really only see in passing on the street or in the next pew at church on Sunday? Then stay away from the big box stores that took all of our work over to China and away from people here...buy from a local store or go on Etsy and buy from a crafter living in the United States.
Are you talented enough to make something yourself? Hit the Salvation Army stores, or other local thrift stores for items that can be re-purposed and given an extended life.
Go to the homeless shelter with your kids and serve food for a day...you'll understand what gratitude truly is.
Take a book or your family Bible to the VA Hospital and read to our soldiers that can't be home this season because they're recovering from injuries they sustained protecting your freedoms.
Get back to the basics people, the things that truly matter...you'll be glad that you did. AND you'll be teaching a future generation that the best things in life aren't things.
EDITED TO ADD: Here's a great site to search out American-made products - http://www.madeinusa.org/