I don’t want to turn on my TV this morning, or for that matter, any radio with people who speak between songs. I just don’t want to hear it. It is Black Friday, and I don’t want to hear about people who are willing to do physical and emotional damage to another human being just to get the best deal. All I can think is:
Seriously, people??? Does it really matter that much? Really??
I’m not talking about those people who shop Black Friday sales because the deals are awesome. I’m not talking about people who map out the mall and have tag teams and a strategy. That is organization. And I get that because I am all about saving money. I’m not even talking about people who wear light up antlers and singing sweatshirts. That is making it fun. I’m talking about those people who are willing to trample, punch, shove, and show no compassion or respect for anyone but themselves. Those who are pressing against the doors, grabbing shopping baskets and plowing over store employees and other shoppers, all to grab the deals as if their very lives and happiness depended on it, and then act like Daffy Duck when they have scooped up all their baskets can hold and more:
It’s mine! Mine! All mine! Mine!
Wait a second…time out here…what on earth are they thinking??? Let’s back this truck up here and really think about what in the heck is going on here. Nobody’s life depends on getting the right deal. No one will spend the next five years in therapy if not presented with the proper gift at Christmas. And certainly, there is absolutely no reason to hurt somebody in the name of all of this foolishness. Where did we get the idea that large gifts – which have become the right gifts – are essential for the perfect Christmas? In part, the commercials that play all season don’t help – think cars with big red bows, but the mentality has shifted so much to meeting people’s immediate demands and away from the relational aspect of the Christmas season.
I was reading Dear Abby the other day, in which a harried toy store employee was asking shoppers to step back and think before they freaked out when the season’s hottest toy was out of stock. The writer said parents even ask her, “Now what do I do?” I find this sad, because the thought process seems to be that if the child does not have this present, it will ruin Christmas. Will it? Honestly? Or will your child even remember it in six seconds after opening gifts?
Let’s face it, we all sat in front of the TV saying we wanted everything on the commercials, but we certainly did not even know what some of those items really were. And we are not devastated, nor has Christmas been ruined forever, because we did not get the whole list of things we thought we wanted.
I can’t tell you what all of my gifts really were, or what I had wanted in the first place, but I can tell you stories of what happened on one Christmas or the other when I was celebrating with my family – taking the goofy pictures of all of us in the matching pajamas that my Maw-Maw had made (which was cool because there were a ton of us), sitting at the kids table at my Granny’s house and trying to beat my cousin to the mashed potatoes, and all of it a big mass of love and cousins and grandparents and aunts and uncles and fudge and cookies with candied cherries on top (I never ate those cherries…gross!). My family can all tell stories of the goofy things that happened at the office party at the company my dad used to work for, I can tell stories of a good number of Christmas Eves where my dad would wake me up with, “Daughter, it is time to go shopping for your mom,” (one year we lost the car – it was tan, so that was not hard to do), hanging the Santa and his reindeer ceramics that my Mom had made, all of us scooping out divinity in a hurry, and the sleeping Santa candy dish. I treasure the memories the most.
So first, let’s keep it civilized this year, people. Don’t cross the line of being willing to hurt somebody else in order to fulfill your needs. That is not right. Second, let’s spend some time having attitude – an attitude of gratitude. Be kind, especially to the people who have to work the crazy hours so you can shop; the people in line around you, some of whom have been trampled; and anyone else in range. Be grateful that you have the blessing of money to purchase gifts, and use it wisely. Be grateful that you have family and friends who love you. Be grateful for all of your blessings – sit down and start making a list – and you will be amazed how quickly it all adds up.
And most of all, remember that you do not make the perfect Christmas with stuff. Stuff is stuff. Focus on the birth of our Savior. Focus on family, friends, relationships, and the beautiful gift of time. Focus on what is really important, and the stuff is not it.