If you have a Facebook account, you have no doubt seen the posts pledging not to shop on Thanksgiving. The Black Friday shopping hysteria has gotten so out of hand that many major retailers are open on the afternoon of Thanksgiving – if not all day. Which means people working retail get virtually no time off with their families.
While pledging not to shop at least brings some awareness to the issue, I believe it is only scratching the surface of the real problem – which is the out-of-control greed and materialism that has invaded our culture.
While we may sit in church on Christmas Eve and sing songs about the birth of the savior of the world, there is very little of Christmas that remotely resembles what took place in that barn many years ago.
I fall into the trap of materialism just as easily as anyone else. Its hard as a parent to see your children’s friends getting more, bigger, and better gifts. The excitement on my kids’ faces when they open up the toy that they REALLY wanted is priceless. But does it have anything to do with the birth of Jesus Christ? No, not one thing.
I am not writing to criticize anyone. The traditions you practice at Christmas time are between you and your family. They may look like mine, and they may not, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong. Shoot, I often shop on Thanksgiving because it is one of the few days we can take my grandma shopping. I am actually writing to simply ask you to take a second look at the Christmas machine.
Here are a few changes that I am pledging to make this year.
I will not look at Black-Friday ads. I already know what I am buying my kids this year, and I refuse to be sucked in by the hysteria of marketing. I am budgeting enough for my kids’ presents in our November budget, so I will buy their gifts on November 1st and that will be it! I am so easily tantalized by a good deal, or the “must-have” toy. I won’t even tempt myself by looking.
I won’t buy my kids every thing they want.Somehow we as parents have been sold the lie that if we love our children we will spend money on them. You don’t have to spend a mortgage payment on your kids to show them you love them, quite the opposite actually. Let’s stop creating an entitled, spoiled generation and raise up God-fearing kids that know it is more blessed to give than to receive.
I will pay cash for Christmas.I love Dave Ramsey’s saying that Christmas happens on December 25 every year. It is not a surprise, so why are we surprised when we have to pay for it? If you are a regular reader you know that we are only recently getting back on the budget bandwagon, so choosing to pay cash will decrease what we can spend on Christmas. Our main budget will go towards gifts for our kids, then my nephews, parents and grandparents. For friends and other family I am making gifts from essential oils, crocheting a few things, and framing some pictures I have taken of loved ones.
I will focus on following the example of Christ, not what the world says Christmas is about. The holiday season is notorious for stress, family drama, spending money you don’t have … What does this have to do with the birth of Jesus? Of what eternal value are any of these things? We are called to be imitators of Christ 365 days a year, including at Christmas time. How much tome do you spend worrying about the presents you are going to buy, or the cookies you have to bake vs. how you are going to further the Kingdom of God? I know my priorities certainly need to change here.
Will you join me in committing to make this the most meaningful Christmas ever?
This is day 22 in the series 31 Days Of Learning To Be Positive. Click here to check out the entire series.