It's the day after Thanksgiving, a holiday where we share all that we are thankful for with our friends and family. I find it interesting that the news is plagued with people waiting in line at various stores offering "Black Friday" sales specials to give people an early jump on their Christmas shopping. Liv and I took a crack at this experience last year, which is how we got the computer we are using today to type this blog post. I did not enjoy that experience.
We waited in line for hours before the store even opened its doors, then waited longer to just get into the store hoping that the computer we wanted wasn't already sold out, and by 9am we had our new CPU. Traffic was crazy, people were in a frenzy, and I found myself asking why everyone was doing this? There was even one family that had split up to cover more ground in search of a flatscreen tv for home. The wife was in line in front of us, the husband at another store, and the teenage kids scattered elsewhere. I hadn't heard coordination like that since I was invading Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Some folks were actually shopping for Christmas gifts. Most seemed to be upgrading their electronics, like us, and taking advantage of deals that are actually offered all year-round if you just have the patience to look for those deals.
Assuming that this all has to do with Christmas shopping, I was also disheartened that Christmas is now about binding ourselves into slavery through credit card debt to purchase electronics, toys, gizmos, and gadgets that we really shouldn't be purchasing for the sake of family finances.
So, a holiday that was meant to celebrate birth and renewal, freedom from slavery to sin, is now more about putting ourselves into the binds of slavery for the sake of "stuff". After all, the rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.
How much of your monthly, or biweekly, paycheck goes towards paying off that flatscreen tv, computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iStuff, or that XBox 360 that your kids play and never share with you? How much time is spent on that stuff rather than with your loved ones?
This is what we are doing today on Black Friday. We are spending time together as a family (as soon as I publish this post). We just finished having breakfast together, then we'll head off to Starbucks for hot chocolate and coffee, and come home to decorate for Christmas, light up the fireplace, and set up the Christmas tree. We are not going to any stores today (besides Starbucks). We will not be fighting our fellow man over toys and gadgets that will break in a year or two. We can always buy stuff. We cannot get time back once it is gone.
What are your thoughts on Black Friday? Do you have an alternative that you'd like to share? Maybe you're all about Black Friday, and it's become a family tradition and event. Share your comments.
(Remember, this should be a safe place to comment. Please no bashing other commentators, keep it clean, and have a Merry Christmas.)