I'm rebelling this year.
Well, at least for the most part.
And against what am I rebelling? The hype of Black Friday and Christmas shopping in general.
I realize that as an Etsy seller that this puts me in a precarious position because I hope that people will buy from my store this holiday season. That would be great. I also plan to buy gifts too. I'm just not going to join the hype.
This year the time that Black Friday shopping will start has been pushed back to new heights of ridiculousness - 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day in most stores and at 6 a.m. in one ad that I've seen. What will it be next? Stores offering free turkey sandwiches and cranberry juice to everyone who chooses to shop rather than stay at home giving thanks?
I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Many workers from Walmart are going to strike on Black Friday at the probable risk of losing their jobs. This Black Friday strike is meant to draw attention to other issues that the company's employees are angry about such as low wages, high insurance premiums and "alleged retaliation from management," according to Bloomberg Business Week. Here is a quote from an article on the subject:
Along with Target (TGT) and Sears (SHLD), Wal-Mart has plans to open retail stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Employees said they weren’t given a choice as to whether they would work on Thanksgiving and were told to do so with little warning. “They don’t care about family,” said Charlene Fletcher, a Wal-Mart associate in Duarte, Calif. She said she is expected to report for work at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The workers said that when they complain about scheduling and other problems, management cuts their hours or fires people. - BloombergBusinessWeek
With the national unemployment rate at 7.9 percent (and growing if all of the striking Walmart employees lose their jobs), the economy in a long-term recession, and the Northeast recovering from a devastating hurricane, why are these stores pressuring the American public to shop? Why are they also interrupting one of our most important holidays, a day in which Americans need to stop and give thanks for all of their blessings, in order to rush into Christmas, another important holiday that has been culturally reduced to a gift-giving, tinsel-laden frenzy.
As one who enjoys shopping, believe me, I understand why people shop on Black Friday. The deals at the stores are pretty amazing. However, this year, I'm going to stay home and digest my Thanksgiving dinner in relative peace. I'm also going to be snuggled in my bed during the wee hours when everyone else is spending the night at the mall fighting other buyers and being pushed around by rude people. No deal for merchandise - especially stuff mass produced in foreign sweat shops where harsh labor practices are far worse than Walmart's alleged sins - is worth all of that headache.
After I awake on Friday, my family will probably enjoy breakfast, clean up and then my mom and I plan to be downstairs crafting gifts for Christmas. I may even spend a little time online looking for deals but that's all. I'm not going to buy a lot of mass produced merchandise this year, including electronics. My kids understand this and they are fine with it.
So what will you do this year? Whatever you decide, keep the peace of Christ in your heart by recognizing that the Christmas season will pass and January will come. Will you start the coming year in debt and completely exhausted? Or, will you tone it down at bit, take a breath and enjoy the season of Christ's birth? It's your decision. Don't let the marketing departments of major stores choose for you.