Yesterday was supposed to be the start of a week-long cleaning binge. Sadly, it was not. Instead, it was spent shuttling kids to school, then to preschool, then BACK to the school to check a kid out to take her to the doctor, then on to the imaging center to have her knee x-rayed only to discover that the x-ray machine there was down, back to the doctor's office for new paperwork for another imaging place, got the x-rays done, take child back to school, run to Lowe's to grab drain cleaner & a new paint brush, pick up kids from preschool, go to grocery store, pick up kids from school, come home, and make dinner. So no cleaning was done at all. This morning, I am taking some time with the computer and a pot of coffee before attempting to clean anything. I have a post rattling around in my head that I thought about all day yesterday, so I'm gonna go and try to get that done and then I'll start the cleaning. Maybe.
As I was running all over the place yesterday, I couldn't help noticing all of the Christmas decorations and advertisements that were EVERYWHERE. They started right after Halloween -- or in some cases, BEFORE Halloween. There was a mini-Christmas tree on the reception desk at the doctor's office. A wreath adorned the door of the imaging center where I took my kid to get her x-rays. Lowe's had an entire 3 aisle section dedicated to Christmas. The speakers at the grocery store played "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." I love Christmas. It IS the most wonderful time of the year. But, here's the thing: It is NOT Christmas yet. It isn't even Thanksgiving yet. I haven't even got all of my Halloween stuff put away yet.
Where are the turkeys? The pilgrims and Indians? The cornucopias??! What is the big hurry to usher in the fat man in his red suit? Before we spend more money than we should on things we don't really need to impress people we really don't even like, shouldn't we take the time to appreciate all of the stuff we have? Shouldn't we MAKE TIME to celebrate our family and friends and the fact that we are grateful for them? Seriously, look around your house -- do you even have room for more stuff? Thanksgiving is supposed to be about family. And being grateful about what we have. It has become nothing more than a speed bump on the super highway to Christmas, which has become about getting more stuff.
I have a very difficult time decking the halls when I am still divvying up Halloween candy to my kids. This rush to "celebrate" Christmas has nothing to do with the traditional "Peace on Earth" or "Goodwill Towards Mankind" that it should be about. Nope, its all about the pursuit of more stuff. I love buying gifts. I USED to love Black Friday. But now, retailers, in an attempt to one up one another have taken to opening on Thanksgiving day for their mega deals. Wal-mart, Toys R Us, and several others are opening not at 4 or 5 AM on Black Friday, but at some point on Thanksgiving! So if you want to get those deals, you have to forgo the Thanksgiving meal with your family and go fight the crowds and stand in lines. And those who work there have to give up their holidays so that you can. It is ridiculous. Amid all of the "Occupy" movements to protest big business, I guarantee that this will be a big year for them.
Well not from me.
I'm tired of being rushed into Christmas. I'm tired of trying to budget all year for one blow-out day of shopping where I need to be in six different stores at exactly 4 AM when they release the good deals. I'm tired of feeling that I have to have everything picked out for every person on my Christmas list by the week of Thanksgiving. And I am tired of big companies making me feel like I must be crazy to willingly miss out on their super deals. A big screen TV for under $500??! You'd better buy that! A Blu-Ray player for under $50??! You NEED it!! Your kid wants this toy that normally sells for $75, but between 4 and 5 AM on Black Friday we'll sell it for $29.99!!! You better hurry though -- there are only 3 per store. Bull. I'm sick of it.
I am boycotting Black Friday.
And I am boycotting any company this Christmas that deprives their employees of their Thanksgiving Holiday. Doctors, nurses, police, and fire fighters HAVE to work on holidays -- the services that they provide are essential. Someone's life may very well depend upon them going to work. They willingly sacrifice for the greater good. Some mom or dad who works at K-Mart to feed their kids, should not have to give up this very special day with them just so you can get discounted electronics and toys.
Instead, I am going to participate in Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday is when you take your Christmas budget and you spend it at places like your local barber shop or beauty salon for gift certificates. When you go to local shops and boutiques for your gifts instead of to the mega-marts. If everyone participated in Small Business Saturday, we'd send a more powerful message to Corporate America than we ever could by standing on a street holding a sign. We'd put our money where our mouth is so to speak. I freely admit that I love big stores for their selection and convenience, but think for a minute if a small mom-and-pop operation offered the same level of service that you got the last time you were at Wal-mart.....would you ever go back? Shop locally and make the Wal-mart's wonder why. Hold them to a higher standard and quit letting them push you around.
I encourage all of you to slow down. Take a breath. Appreciate what you have and give thanks.
The establishment doesn't want you to do this. They rush you through Thanksgiving and straight into Christmas so that you will focus on all of the things that you don't have instead of realizing how much you already have. They don't want you to appreciate the things that you have because then you might decide that you don't really need a new TV, your kid doesn't need that $75 toy, and you have 3 working DVD players so you can forgo that Blu-ray player. Write down what you are thankful for. Share it with your family and ask them to do the same. Take stock of all that you have and then decide what holiday shopping you even need to do, where you can get it locally, and how you can pass on some of the things you don't need to others who do.
And remember that Christmas is in DECEMBER....
EDIT: I just read Mary Tyler Mom's post for today -- Thanksgiving: Wherefore Art Thou?. You should ALL go and read it. If for no other reason than to prove that I am not the only one who misses Thanksgiving.