(c) Christmas 2007; Kathy Fannon
Last week while watching Studio B, Shepard Smith was discussing with Gerri Willis the fact that some stores (Target, WalMart) are going to be opening at 8:00 Thursday night. Thanksgiving Thursday night. Shep was not happy, he wants his mama's cookin' and doesn't want her running off to sales.
My daughter sent me a text this morning saying that Rivertown Mall will be opening at midnight on Friday morning. As my dad used to say, "for our shopping dollars...uh, convenience."
I saw on the news this morning that the best deals and prices were September 27. Maybe that was the day to shop.
I used to love Christmas. I put up my tree and decorations the day after Thanksgiving and took them down January 1. I had tinsel and lights everywhere along with all the trinkets and knickknacks I had in my collection. I hung stockings on the fireplace and the tree was loaded underneath with presents for everybody and their brother.
Now...not so much. I've had years where I didn't even put a tree up. This will probably be another one of those years. And I only buy for those closest to me, not the mailman, the doctor's office receptionist, or those kinds of "extended" people like I used to. (Mostly, no money.)
It seems like every year Christmas comes earlier. Really, Hallmark? We need to start collecting ornaments in July? And every fall the push is on for those Christmas dollars. Promotions for promotions: "Watch for the new Gizmo 2 Million to be on sale next week!" Coupons, flyers, sale sheets - my email and mailbox are overloaded!
And now stores want to open on Thanksgiving?!
Hello, America, we don't NEED all of this stuff. Can we stop being so greedy? Or is it stupid? Senseless, out-of-control spending. (Who even has the money anyway? I sure don't.)
Remember the Fiscal Cliff we're headed toward?
Let's take a moment and think about what's going on in the world. Or even right here in our own country.
Hurricane Sandy wiped out hundreds of thousands of people's homes. They lost everything. There is a tremendous need on the east coast. Those people don't care about the latest gizmo, fashion item, or popular child's toy; many of them just want their power back on, basic necessities met and to keep their jobs. How many of them will care about Black Friday (or Thursday) and be standing in a line to save a few dollars on a luxury item? Well, maybe they will because they have things to replace in their homes. (See below for how to help.)
Please remember these folks as you're standing in line at Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, the mall, or wherever you're shopping to buy another toy for the child in your life and maybe do a little less for the people you know who don't really need more things, and do a little more for the people who are truly needy.
In our own community we have Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, Mel Trotter Ministries and the Salvation Army. Maybe there are folks in your church who need food...give to the benevolence ministry. Maybe there is a family in your neighborhood whose parents are out of work and you could bless them by filling a need...clothes, toys, food.
Please remember to focus on others this year. It's insane how much money we spend, that we don't have, on junk we don't need. I've already told my daughter not to get us anything; use the money for someone who truly has a need. (Just bake us a pie or something!)
Yes, all this giving is good, and that's the spirit of the season, to share and to give. And maybe I'm just at a point in my life where I'd rather just spend time with my family enjoying dinner and laughing instead of getting things I don't need or want. (Hello, return lines, right?)
But our spending...uh, giving is so out of control we've lost sight of the reason for the giving in the first place.
The true reason for Christmas is Jesus' birth; a little baby boy born amongst cows, sheep, straw, rats and a smelly barn. Nobody knew the King of Kings was born that night, silently in a hidden away place, while chaos surrounded him outside the barn doors. This little boy who would grow up and allow Himself to be beaten, mocked, tortured and murdered because of us and our sins. That's true giving. And true Love. Let's remember HIM this season.
I know not everybody agrees with me, and some of my friends LOVE this holiday and live for it all year. I know I'm a bah-humbugger, but I promise I WILL have Christmas music playing at some point, starting in December. It's just not the season without Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, the Robert Shaw Chorale, Louis Armstrong, Les Brown and Dean Martin singing the classics!
What are you be doing different this year for Christmas? Anything?
How To Aid Victims of Hurricane Sandy
Convoy of Hope