Prompt: Critique something.
I know that Black Friday is coming. Last year I avoided it, most of my Christmas shopping was done by that point. But from online shopping emails, I noticed how great the deals were from both Canadian and American stores. I remember going to Banana Republic Canada’s website and seeing all clothes were 50% off. That hardly ever happens at Banana Republic! The best price you can get is 40 % off and that’s not often. In fact, it was odd to me that Canadian websites and stores were giving deals that were so good on Black Friday and they were better then the Canadian equivalent, Boxing Day deals. I like to shop, that’s not a lie. But I also have this part of conscience that is telling me that whether we are shopping crazily on Black Friday Week or Boxing Week, we are missing the point of the holidays these shopping marathons are based around.
The largest difference between Canadian and US Thanksgiving is when we hold our festivities. Canadians celebrate the second Monday in October and Americans the third weekend in November. But I know for both nations, it is a time for us to be thankful for all God has provided us with in our lives. For the plenty we have in our wants and needs. We remember so many do not have ‘plenty’ in other places in the world. We give thanks to be alive and for the relative peace we find living in our countries, especially when places so close to our hearts such as Paris, are attacked by terrorists. We eat large meals and see our family, whom we may not see all year. But to be specific, Wikipedia tells me, the first thanksgiving was celebrated in the US after the pilgrims first harvest in the New World in 1621. The feast lasted three days and in attendance were fifty three pilgrims and ninety Native Americans. In Canada, we simply celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year during our Thanksgiving celebration. But I wonder how such a time of thankfulness has become a shopping race, to find the best deals. To think of all we ‘want,’ instead of all we have.
Every Black Friday or Cyber Monday we see Americans literally fighting over electronics and grabbing items from each other as if they were toddlers. People are pushy, loud, and not nice to each other. They think that if they act how they act, they’ll get all the items they want. It is all about “me” and “I” or “my family.” I have to say it is worse on Black Friday in the US, worse then it ever gets in Canada even though Black Friday is gaining force here. But I’m not sure deals will be as great this year with the fall of the Canadian dollar from near parity.
What ever happened to being a decent person, sharing, and being thankful for what you have? You may get a great deal but at what immoral price? What are you teaching the younger generations when you gorge on food, say that everyone should be thankful, then push and shove in Victoria Secret over a bra, of which you have ten or more? Or, was it worth it to battle through bodies and buy a TV at a hundred dollars saving?
I know some of you Black Friday shoppers are kind. And that every person just wants nice things for their families or theirselves at a good price. Maybe you can only afford certain items on sale, so these shopping days are important. Things are pretty tame in Canada but there is always the exception. And it’s just my point of view, but I wonder how being thankful and all this merchandising, advertising, and worked up shoppers fit together.
In Canada, we celebrate Boxing Day after Christmas. It’s origins lie in people boxing up their leftover food from Christmas meals for the poor. But instead, we shop with our gift cards and Christmas money for more of what we have, for stuff, instead of celebrating family and Jesus’ birth; instead of celebrating people being together. I just find it a bit difficult, putting Christmas and shopping hauls together. I still shop and I still celebrate with my family. But I try to remember that when I’m out buying merchandise there is a way to treat other shoppers with respect, not like they’re the competition. I remember that buying stuff is fun but only temporary. “You can’t take it with you when you go,” as the saying goes.Whether you can buy a lot of things or hardly afford any, in death we leave all our junk behind. We need to remember that there are people who can’t afford are grand celebrations at Thanksgivings and Christmas. We need to give money and our time to those in need. To give presents to kids whose parents can’t afford, or food to the family who can only go to the food bank.
I think if we were more thankful we could see how it is for some people to have so little, while we have a lot. For some people a tiny gift or a helping hand is worth so much. Little things like God, family, good friends, and health should matter the most. Without them all the ‘things’ in the world are worthless. So, be happy if that is what you have and if your basic needs are met. Happy Thanksgiving Americans and start of the holiday season for many of us. May you be thankful and gentle when you shop and generous with your time and donations to those less fortunate. May you cherish the life you have because you’re a priceless person to many people you know and loved very much.