Most who read this will agree that Christmas has become something of a national embarrassment. What used to be known as a time of gathering with family and celebrating the birth of our Lord has become a month long celebration of gluttony and greed. I don’t blame television, retailers, the government, or the Billy Idol Christmas Album (really…it exists).
No, the blame lies with us. As a society, we demanded it. The retailers and TV producers only provided what we demanded. Careful what you ask for.
Our carnage of the holidays begins this Friday, when millions of shoppers will line up–as early as 9pm Thanksgiving night I understand–to get the “bargains” of Black Friday. Mind you, I love a good deal as much as the next guy. I look forward to the 90% off rack in Kohls every spring, where a budget-minded dad can stock up on shirts for the year. The colors and patterns may not win me any fashion awards, mind you (I hear yellow and green plaid is not in this year…who knew?), but I achieve the minimal requirements of decency and warmth.
What Blackers, as they shall henceforth be known, do, on the other hand, is discover great deals on stuff they nor their kin have any use for and will end up as next year’s garage sale fodder at even deeper discounted prices. You doubt? Know where that Furbee is? That’s right. Once you realized it was demon possessed and incapable of shutting the %&*#! up, the little fuzzball found its way to the compost bin (sorry about the language, but at 3am, my vocabulary quickly reverts to my pre-salvation selection of various descriptors).
I myself have succumbed to the allure of deep discounted electronics. After rising at 3am and standing outside–WAY outside–Target in the lovely Michigan late autumn air, then finding my TV was sold out sometime before I even made it to the parking lot, selecting a larger TV because, BYGOSH, I was getting a TV, then waiting near the registers while my wife found the rear of the line, which was somewhere in another Target in another city, I decided that I would gladly pay someone $200 to take my place to save $150 off the TV. See that? I could have slept in and it would have only cost me $50. Well worth it.
Really, I’m going somewhere with my annual rant. It is annual, but this is the first time someone was foolish enough to let me print it on their website. So here’s my one-man crusade: Let’s rename Black Friday and call it Blessing Friday. Instead of freezing your giftwrap off waiting in line Friday morning, sleep in, have a nice pancake breakfast (we’ll revisit that diet in January), and take out the checkbook. Write a check for $100 or whatever you would have blown anyway to the charity of your choice. Sign it, mail it (or just skip all that and do it online with PayPal), and go back to bed for a pre-lunch nap. Maybe even play some non-electronic board games with the fam.
I even started a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/RenameBlackFriday. The 18 people who have “liked” it probably won’t crush the retail sales figures this week, but it’s a start.
Now please, return to your pie making. Think about your favorite charity and how you’ll relax after your hectic day tomorrow.
Happy Thanksgiving Blessing Fridayers (I’ll have to work on that one). See you in December.