Ah, the holiday season. Knitted hats, cocoa, Christmas movies and music, more baked goods than we need, and frenzied consumerism. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
Well, I don’t think it does. At least not that last part. The whole excessive consumerism and gift buying deal is the reason, I believe, I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit the last couple years. I don’t mean to say that I’m some Scrooge. My wife and I haven’t failed to deck the halls, blast the Dustin Kensrue Christmas album, and watch every Christmas movie on our shelf. But my heart wasn’t fully into it. While I looked forward to getting together with friends and family, I didn’t look forward to the gifting part of the festivities. Even the receiving part.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to see the value in just being together with friends and family while eating, drinking, and being merry. When asked what I want for Christmas I draw a blank. Sure, there are some things that would be nice to have. But I don’t really need anything at this stage in my life.
This year, however, is shaping up to look a little better. We’re planning to do handmade-only with some of our family so that we can give each other gifts that are meaningful, instead of just meeting some budget to purchase a gift that will be soon forgotten.
This all leads me to mention the bane of Christmas. That dreaded day called Black Friday. Although these days I think it’s more accurate to term this shopping frenzy Black Thanksgiving, considering all the stores that are opening at 5 and 8 PM on Thanksgiving evening. I mean, that’s not even enough time for the pumpkin pie to be eaten, let alone begin the digestion process.
My wife and I have always intentionally opted out of Black Friday. I just have a hard time with a day dedicated to overspending, greed, and pressure to buy so much. I don’t even think the deals are that great to be honest. I’d much prefer to spend a little more on something when I can afford it than to get out in that all mess and max out a credit card (or 5).
Instead my wife and I dedicate the wonderful day after Thanksgiving to putting the lights on the house and spending time together. This year we plan to have a Harry Potter marathon with our niece and nephew. Way cooler than than getting trampled for a crockpot, don’t you think?
What about you? Do you opt out of Black Friday? Have you had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit due to the pressure and excess that consumerism brings this time of year? What do you do to make the holidays more meaningful? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.