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Friday, Mar. 24, 2017

Black Friday causing the holiday blues..

Posted Friday, November 25, 2011, at 4:22 PM

Black Friday. If you're not familiar with the term, then it's safe to say that you've been living under a rock for a really long time. Designated as the day of the year to get all the best "deals" on all of your holiday shopping, and also the day after Thanksgiving. So...here's the schedule for this week:

1.) Be thankful for all you are given.

2.) Consume mass quantities of food.

3.) Nap.

4.) Forget that you're already thankful for the things you are given and determine you need more.

5.) Go out and "consume" on a materialistic level.

6.) Repeat steps 1 through 3.

Lots of consuming! Do you remember the holidays as a child? Thanksgiving meant eating more than one helping of dessert and getting away with it, playing with all of your cousins that you hadn't seen in a year, and "ooing" and "awwing" at Christmas light displays. Christmas morning was when you snuck downstairs to see if Santa came and..alas! He had! You know, looking back...I can't really remember most of the gifts I received. The only one I really remember was the year I got a bike because..well, it's kind of hard to forget something as big as that as an 8-year-old. But, honestly..I can't remember any of the gifts I received from Christmas' past. What I remember most about Christmas time is decorating the tree with strings of popcorn and old ornaments that we had collected through the years, singing Christmas carols and watching the old classics, "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Story," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." I also remember participating in the church's Christmas pageant because I got to wear these wicked cool angel wings and...as we all know..having wings is awesome.

The gifts though? I simply can't recall them. It's not that I didn't love them because I'm sure I did. But, could it be that we put too much importance into them? If you think about it, the things that came naturally or couldn't be bought were the things that were remembered.

I started writing this blog out of aggravation. So many people this holiday season have asked me if I'm going shopping on Black Friday, to which I grumble back a short response of, "No." If they didn't know me, I'm sure they'd assume I'm of the "Bah, humbug" variety -- but, they'd be wrong. I love the holidays...absolutely love them. I'm not big on the consumerism part of it though. This year seems to be more intense with it too. With a national unemployment rate of 9%, you would think it would be different. Not so. Or maybe it just seems like the marketing for Black Friday is more intense this year simply because we are aware of so many struggling to make ends meet. I know every time I see an ad for the big savings on Black Friday, I start thinking about those that I know who won't be able to take advantage of the sale. Not because they don't want to, but because they can't afford to. Which then, in turn, makes me slightly disgusted at all the advertisements for it. They serve as a reminder to those who can't afford to have a "lavish" holiday, that they are STILL struggling. What happened to the way the holiday's used to be? They were the time of the year when you knew people would come together with a single purpose: Love and peace among each other. The one time of the year where everyone was so cheerful and full of goodwill that we, momentarily, didn't realize how much of a struggle things were. We've lost sight of that. Somewhere through the years, "love and goodwill" got translated to "gifts and more gifts." We put so much importance on the material goods these days that it would be simply impossible to ever NOT realize how much you are struggling.

So, let's remind ourselves what the holidays are really about. No matter your cultural or religious background...let's just take this time to think about what the holidays mean to you. I can almost bet that 9 times out of 10, it has very little to do with presents or gifts of any sort. We must start now, especially considering these hard economic times. Tell your children what the holidays mean to you and vice versa. You may be surprised by their answers.

I wish you all the very best to you and your loved ones this holiday season...and remember, the best gifts rarely come with a price tag.

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Sarah C. Haney
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