I admit I have not been to a mall in over 2 1/2 years. The closest I come to that kind of shopping environment is going to outlets once a year. The retailers that know me best are the Benjamin Moore paint associates and the home improvement folks that have been selling me cedar shingles for my home.
In my own family, I’m in the minority. I’m the only one that doesn’t participate in the Black Friday shopping battle. Derrick Jackson talks about the brutality of Black Friday and making a change for Christmas this year.
It seems that it is not enough for Americans to watch football on turkey day. Obviously inspired by our beloved black-and-blue brutality, otherwise sane Americans treat Black Friday as their day in the NFL, blasting through the hole of the store opening to the 20-, the 30-, the 40-, the 50-percent-off sweater department! Then you chop-block the shopper ahead of you to advance from 53d to 52d in the checkout line.
All this sweat, tears, and occasional blood for the argyle for dear old Dad that becomes moth bait.
This year is, of course, different. Black Friday really turned tragic as a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in New York. This and the economy stinks. President-elect Obama has said for two years the planet is in peril. That originally only referred to global warming. But Americans keep thinking we can pilfer the planet at no peril.
This would seem like a great time to reassess the difference between what we want and what we need, both for the wallet and the planet. The National Retail Federation estimates that 49 million Americans were sure to go shopping this weekend. That is one-sixth of America. Depending how deep the discounts go, up to 128 million Americans could clog the aisles, over a third of the nation.
“Shoppers who held off buying a DVD player or winter coat over the last few months will find that prices may literally be too good to pass up.” Like crack cocaine, I suppose.
It would be far more awesome to stop the addiction. A growing number of families have gone cold turkey on turkey day, banning the blizzard of boxes under the Christmas tree in lieu of charitable gifts to people really in need.
I have a suggestion for these holidays. The average American, according to the government, consumes six times more energy than the world average. Take whatever you spent on gifts last year, slash 5/6ths of it, and see what you can do with the rest – unless of course you make a charitable donation.
And the planet itself can give thanks for being a few pieces of plastic less in peril.
Christmas is something that has always excited me since I was very little and I have never lost my enthusiasm for the season as I became an adult. That’s why I’m particularly sad to see that there are those who have so little regard for others, as this season is starting to kick-off. Somewhere along the way, it seems some have lost their goodwill, in a mob mentality or frenzy to get the last bargain.
This however, will not curb my enthusiasm, which is contagious – it has been passed on to my children, who love the efforts I put into decorating the house, the many days of baking cookies and all the friends that come over during the season. They know it’s my time of year to thank everyone that are special to myself and my family.
Another tradition that I have, is to donate to the local homeless shelter, toys for tots, and to all the local food banks this time of year. Which for me, are the best gifts I give during the season, also, to teach my children it’s not about gifts you receive, it’s about helping others that would otherwise, not have a meal that day if people didn’t donate time and money to help. That is why I chose this particular article to feature in my post, because charitable contributions are so important.