Don’t get me wrong by the title of this post. I love the #Christmas season and the holidays in general, but I cannot stand #BlackFriday. Why? Well, I used to work in a mall during high school and part of college, and always had to work extra hours on #BlackFriday. Sure, there were plenty of people who were having the happiest of holidays by scoring some major deals, and then there were some that behaved worse than their kids ever did just to save money on something the recipient probably wouldn’t use much beyond the day they unwrapped it.
When I worked in the mall, there were times when I saw people running as fast as they could to get their next deal. RUNNING. RUNNING IN A MALL. It’s pointless.
The thing that gets me every year is that people are too focused on scoring the best deals that they forget what #Christmas is all about. I’m definitely not saying that every shopper doesn’t get the true meaning of #Christmas, but I bet if you asked most of them why they give gifts to each other, their response would be something along the lines of the recipient being upset if they didn’t get anything for #Christmas.
Yesterday, we all gathered around our Thanksgiving dinner table and expressed how thankful we are for what we have, and not even 24 hours later we are shoving old ladies to the ground to be the first to get an outstanding deal on useless crap.
It’s not just the crowds of people waiting overnight outside for a store to open, or the hours spent trying to find a parking space. It’s the whole thing that I refuse to participate in any longer. Sure, I want to find great deals for my wife and kids for #Christmas, but I’m not about to go push and shove people, or camp out overnight, or spend 12 hours shopping in a day. How ridiculous!
There are so many people in this world that need our help. They are without food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Shouldn’t we put our time to better use by giving away what we don’t need any longer? I think most of us could say that half the crap in our houses sit for 365 days a year unused. It’s better use of our time to help others in need. The 12 hours you just spent shopping your heart out you could have been spending donating clothing or food to the needy.
I know what you are probably thinking: This guy thinks every #BlackFriday shopper has his or her priorities out of line. That’s not it at all. Some people do spend a lot of time and money buying for others rather than themselves. That’s great, but I still think the majority of us could have put that time and money to better use.
I know I would feel guilty giving a gift to someone after I pushed or shoved someone out of the way to get it. Giving a gift is more than going out and buying it for someone. It’s all about the attitude and the intention behind it. I wouldn’t want to accept a gift knowing that the other person was rude to someone just to get it for me. I’d rather not be a part of it.
Our attitudes in everything we do shape our world around us. Our kids are watching every move we make. I know there are some moms and dads out there that don’t care that their kid just witnessed them run another shopper over to get to a good deal before another shopper – and some parents let their kids do the shoving.
Let’s take a look at this news story. #BlackFriday shoppers in Modesto, CA began fighting on Thanksgiving Day (of all days to fight over stuff!!). This ridiculous behavior was caught on camera. This isn’t the image we should be relaying to our kids, dads! As dads we have to be the bigger person. If it means I have to beat the living crap out of someone to get my kids a toy, then my priorities are in the wrong place!
Here’s another story right out of the state where I was born and raised: Georgia. We have shoppers in Bainbridge, Georgia fighting at a Wal-Mart over towels and toys. I just can’t justify this kind of behavior with the true meaning of #Christmas.
My kids have a lot to be thankful for, and they know it. They are still kids and do their share of begging and whining for crap they don’t need. Sometimes I give in and buy it, other times I don’t. When I don’t buy it for them, I give them a solid reason as to why they didn’t get what they asked for that time. Sometimes they pout like that little bratty girl in the Willy Wonka movie. I really don’t care. I care more about molding and shaping them for doing what is right in life than being in the “in crowd” by buying them a toy.
So why did I spend time writing this post tonight? Because I feel that the meaning of #Christmas seems to never be about what it’s supposed to be about – the birth of Jesus Christ. As a dad, and also as the spiritual leader of my household, it is my responsibility to instill the right values and behaviors in my kids. They watch me so closely that it’s scary. Everything I do that I think they don’t see, they end up do seeing. If they are watching me 24/7, then I need to teach them why we celebrate #Christmas as well as why we give to others.
There is a very good side to #BlackFriday, though. Today is the day of the year many businesses make the majority of their yearly income, and those working on Black Friday often get extra income that helps out their families. We do need to support our small businesses, and if we can help their bottom line by shopping on #BlackFriday, that’s fantastic.
#BlackFriday is not all bad, even though I’ve sort of painted that picture with this post. Our economy is improving, and today is a day that helps boost it a little more. I’m 100% for supporting our economy and boosting it. Black Friday is one of those days that may help a business stay open for at least another year.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on #BlackFriday. Do you like to shop on #BlackFriday? How do you teach your kids about the way to behave during the mad rush for savings? Have you ever been a part of a scuffle or a fight during #BlackFriday shopping? If you have a good story, I’d love to post it in a future blog post.
I’m not a Scrooge or a Grinch by any stretch of the imagination – just a daddy who wants to teach the true meaning of giving and #Christmas to his family. There is nothing wrong with that. And there’s nothing wrong with #Christmas shopping up to a point where greed and anger take over the joy and happiness of giving to others.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and have a very Merry #Christmas!