That’s what we are, particularly at this time of year and ESPECIALLY today. Christ on a Master Card, the onslaught of catalogues began earlier this month. Christmas candies and decorations were up in the local grocery stores the day after Halloween! Stores have been advertising BIG BLACK FRIDAY SALES EVENTS for weeks now.
It’s as though the vast engine of commercialism is breathing BUY, BUY, BUY into our very pores. And it is.
In case ya hadn't noticed, the siren song, the call to shop is a painfully hard call to resist.
The Amazing Bob and I didn’t exchange prezzies last Christmas and that, for both of us, felt mighty damned odd, wrong even. Unsettling. This year we’re going to buy each other a wee bijoux or some such. He needs a new wedding band. I need new slippers.
Do I need a big, expensive, surprise gift? Does he? Nope. Maybe it’s the habit of a lifetime of goodie filled Christmas mornings. We want something to open while quaffing our peppermint flavored Christmas coffee and snarfing our gingerbread men.
As a kid, my mother gave me socks and underwear. Imagine being eight years old, opening a brightly wrapped box only to find white cotton briefs and knee socks. There were packages containing a needed sweater or a new shirt for my Catholic school uniform too. Disappointment City! At least until I hit my teen years. As usual. Mother and Daddy would ask what I wanted for Christmas. While the question, for mia madre, was strictly pro forma, for the old man it was serious. I asked for an album — Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme and I got it! I’ll tell ya right now this shocked me down to my toenails. Every year after, I’d ask for an LP AND I’d get just what I asked for — the latest Elton John, Paul Simon's first solo effort, Handel and Rossini! It was wonderful.
|gratuitous Rocco pic|
BUT, as a wee kiddle, I wanted toys.
Here’s something that my Helen’s starting to do with her girls — she’s giving them an event, a mini vaca, a class where they can learn how to do something that fires up their respective imaginations. Most recently, we had a weekend in northern Vermont and New Hampshire. Madison had said she wanted to learn how to do origami and there was a class at the library in Hardwick. Added to this was a visit to the Museum of Dead Things and a trip into the astounding, fiercely handsome Franconia Notch State Park to see The Basin.
So, she’s giving gifts of experience, learning, fun and memories not things.
Smart. Double plus smart.
As for what any of us do on this big black shopping weekend — well, I’ve said it before and have little to add. Buy from independently owned businesses and check out these fabulous craft folk (do we call them artisans now? Isn’t that the en vogue term?).
OR be a rebel and don’t spend a dime. Enjoy your friends and fam, eat leftovers, watch old movies, play Scrabble, walk on the beach/through the snowy wood. Just be.