A friend of mine shared this image on Facebook today:
Yep. That's how I feel about the holiday spending frenzy that will ensue beginning tomorrow evening. Black Friday scares the crap out of me. Workers die from stampedes of crazed Americans, out getting their shopping fix after a day filled with avoiding arguments with family members and belly aches from gorging themselves with dead birds and canned cranberry gelatinous goop--but thank God, at least not passenger pigeons. We've evolved passed that. Especially now that they're extinct.
I hate shopping. If I must buy something, I prefer second-hand stores like Once Upon a Child, or thrift shops like Catholic Charities and Goodwill.
And yet our child's bedroom is full of stuff. Furniture, clothes, toys galore. Most of it has been given to us as hand-me downs or gifts from relatives and friends. And yet, I'm sure my husband and I will get suckered into buying her the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Secret Subway Scene Pop Up Pizza Playset she's asked for. I remember what it felt like each year to ask for a Barbie Dreamhouse and being told I could use empty shoe boxes, washcloths, and my imagination to build my own dreamhouse. Actually, maybe that's what grew my creative mind. Maybe we should rethink this Pop Up Pizza Playset gift and buy our kid some shoes.
I'm not anti-gift giving. I'm not a total Scrooge. I love seeing my daughter's face light up when she opens a present that delights her. Maybe what I mean is that instead of overdoing it buy buying tons of expensive gifts for our children and the people we know and love, we should consider scaling it back with our loved ones we know and give to our loved ones we don't know. There are many wonderful charities that take gifts to poor children. Katie is getting a Christmas present for a little girl her age. We don't know this girl. We found her wish list at church. She asked for a pair of shoes. Size 2.
A seven-year-old asks for shoes on her Christmas wish list. Not some faddish toy or expensive gadget.
I try not to be a Debbie Downer about holiday shopping, but it's hard when you realize how much human need goes unnoticed while human greed is socially sanctioned. It's easy to get caught up in the joyous celebration of the holidays and want to spend tons of money on those close to us. But let's not forget that the well fed, the well clothed, the well gageted will still know we love them if we buy them one less gift this year and give that gift to a child who really needs it.