Make Christmas mean more than just shopping

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Which do you suppose is the best sale day - Black Friday or Boxing Day? Which do you suppose is the safest?

Black Friday got its name, because that was traditionally when retailers turned a profit, or moved out of the red and into the black. It is supposed to be the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving, however in the U.S. pre-sales start almost a month in advance and the actual Black Friday day, which used to start at midnight, has now been pushed by the big companies, back to the evening of their Thanksgiving Day. So on the actual holiday when U.S. people are supposed to sit down together to give thanks for all they have in life, they are either forced to work or they standing in line to buy more things.

Boxing Day, here in Canada, hasn’t been much better when you think about it. How much do we care for someone, when the focus of their gift is on what can I buy cheap, a year early, to give to people next Christmas?

Because Black Friday is now in the Canadian market place, it makes sense that Boxing Day is becoming irrelevant. After all, why not buy all your presents cheap, on Black Friday, before Christmas? What they are selling on Boxing Day [week] are the leftovers and they really can’t give a better price reduction.

One thing that is not synonymous with Boxing Day, which is with Black Friday, is violence. CTV News reported that “The reports [of violence] are so frequent, and the interest in them so high, a U.S. website is now tracking the number of deaths and injuries associated with the consumer frenzy. The site lists disturbing reports of shoppers being shot, stabbed, pepper-sprayed and trampled while trying to snag the latest deals.”

What Black Friday says to me is that even at these extremely low prices in the States, and somewhat lower prices in Canada, these places are still making money, so the rest of year they are really ripping us off!

An advertisement on television for a box store showed a mother shopping for her family and getting a laptop, iPad, an expensive cell phone and other electronics worth thousands of dollars. That scared me and I don’t have any kids! What is happening to society? There doesn’t seem to be any control of greed today. It doesn’t matter what level people are at, they want more and it seems the more you have, the more you want. It is a never ending cycle.

Christmas was not established as the time of year to beggar yourself and your family, yet many families go into debt for months. Why? Do the people on your list really need that gift? Perhaps if it was an actual need, the debt would be worth it. But there is little today in most families where that is real need.

Today we are lured into packages. Put more channels with your television service, with a home phone that has features you never use, with cell phone extras for you and the kids, with unlimited texting and a better and faster internet service. For the money spent, what you get is probably worth it, but did you need even half of it? Many people find it much cheaper to purchase services separately getting only what they need and forgoing the bells and whistles, without any real loss.

What would you do if someone wanted to give your child a highly addictive gift? Something that would retard their speaking and social skills. Something that can do actual physical harm to adults let alone young children. Something that in many counties in the world is not recommended for children under 16 years. It is a cell phone. Check out the studies on health problems before you give them a cell phone.

Another advertisement on television showed a young boy all excited because Dad was going to watch him play a sport, where as the little sister was excited because Mom was taking her to the mall. When did people loose sight that shopping is a necessity, not a hobby? If you don’t need anything, why go? Shopping can be as addictive as cell phone use, gambling, cigarettes and drugs. Not going shopping can reduce that Christmas debt earlier, saves gas and gives you time to better yourself by walking in the woods or going to a museum or zoo or concert or game. Try doing the things the whole family can enjoy together, events where you can talk instead of texting each other.

Perhaps you could try to make Christmas about something other than shopping. Maybe making some gifts or giving gifts in your family’s name to people in town, or a third world country, who truly need your help. Remember the real meaning of Christmas? Yes, it was about giving. It was about a gift from God, who did not give us a ‘thing’, He gave us his son. Perhaps, just trying to aspire to that, would pull society up from the hole we have dug with greed.

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