If this is supposed to be the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, why can’t we just stick with the parties for hosting and marshmallows for toasting, and leave the shopping madness behind? I watched this TED Talk last week, and thought it was perfect for a post today, the day when we’re all supposed to rush like crazy, scouring various retail websites for 24 hours to spend money many of us don’t have, buying crap nobody really wants, so we can take advantage of all those online “deals.”
Year after year, when I see ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they make me want throw my shoes at the TV, the billboards, and my computer. We all talk about how “things” are not important, that people and time are. We greet every Tom, Dick & Harry from the street, our offices, and the grocery store, with huge smiles and “Happy Thanksgiving!” during the 3rd week in November… and then? We forget what’s important just like that. (Please snap your fingers here.) Before granny has passed the cranberry sauce, we’re racing out the door to the mall elbowing that woman next to us in the aisle for the last coffee mug with snowflakes on it set, or we’re opting out of an in-person conversation with our brother we only see once a year, so we can log on and fill up our virtual shopping cart with gifts, putting us farther into credit card debt.
Did we seriously already forget what we’re really thankful for, before we even had a piece of pumpkin pie? Again?
Gallup reports that Americans will spend an average of $885 on Christmas this year. That $885 is not just $885. Add in your time running around trying to find something, anything that person X might want, sitting in traffic cursing at people in parking lots who don’t move quickly enough out of that space you want, fighting crowds like you’re trying to get to the front row at Lollapalooza, and the stress monkey you turn into as you freak out about whether or not person X will even like what you bought them. Now add in items that will end up as waste in the the landfills, and the interest we will accrue on our credit cards over the next 12 months for those purchases.
A Merry Christmas, indeed.
The actual COST of what we buy is far more than what a price tag reads.
Before you call me Ebenezer Scrooge, you should know that I fully believe in and promote gifting of time, and/or experiences…at any time of year; Coffee, dessert, lunch, drinks, or dinner out with your bff’s. A gift card for your mom to get a mani/pedi or massage because you know that selfless woman would always feel guilty buying a spa service for herself. A weekend away for you and your sister to have some fun. A special “skip” day for you and your 10 year old to have pizza in the park and hang out when everyone else is at work or school. A hot date night out with your honey- get gussied up and go out to a restaurant you never would otherwise try. A day with me to help your parents, your recently divorced aunt, or your new mommy friend purge all the stuff in their houses that makes them feel buried. (Who can argue with these effective and enjoyable ideas?!:)
I can see the rolling eyes of parents with 3 kids under the age of 12 right now as they read this. Yes, you are probably the only ones who should be speed-racing in a furry to wrap toys and games for stacking under the Christmas tree while your sweet little nuggets still believe in Santy Claus. A living room full of boxes, bows, and screeches of joy from the young ones on December 25th is a cherished and beautiful thing. But for the rest of us adults:
Can’t we all just give each other the gift of a little more time together?
I’m guessing that person who loves you would be thrilled if you spent the money sending yourself on a plane to see them, instead of sending a fruit basket:
*Photo credit goes to my selfie arm in a sister and mom sandwich. Spain, holiday 2016*
My Christmas wish this year is that we all say THANKS a little more, do more GIVING of ourselves, and we remember to show love throughout the year by SHOWING UP when someone might need us. That is the best kind of gift we could ever give, my friends. (Ok I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I also wish for those delicious cheese straws my friend Sandy makes, too.)
Here’s to more time sharing laughs over pumpkin pie and cheese straws.
#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #ExperiencesNotThings #TheYearOfLessCrap