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Friday, November 29, 2013

The Rush To Buy

It is the season to be jolly and for many people this means buying a bunch of stuff they don't need and many times can't even afford.

I am guilty of this as well. I love cruising the sites looking for Black Friday Deals and deals leading up to Black Friday and the deals that lead up to the countdown for the deals that are for Black Friday. And then there are the deals leading up to Christmas and the after-Christmas sales.  I see an item that interests me and "OH WOW!" It's super discounted and in one click it can be delivered to my doorstep. Or an email arrives in my inbox announcing some "In-Store Only" special that tempts me to run out and acquire the object (and several others) with a quick swipe of my card.

Compared to some, I don't buy a lot for the holidays. But 90% of the shopping I do is for the five kids that live in my house. I like to see them happily playing with a LEGO set they desired for months, or playing make believe with wooden swords. But today's society teaches us that the three gifts we gift each of our children isn't enough. Although fifteen new items enter our house each Epiphany (and this doesn't include numerous toys and gifts they receive from other family members on Christmas), my kids need more stuff, more clutter, more, more, more to fill their days.

When is enough enough? According to the Consumer Christmas Culture, enough is enough when you have given up your Thanksgiving dinner in order to acquire a great deal, as well as maxed out most of your savings or credit cards. And then you're lucky if this stuff you've acquired makes you or the receiver happy for longer than the holidays.

I am not saying don't buy gifts for those you love. In fact, I encourage my kids to purchase gifts for each other. Thoughtful gifts that are paid for in part or full from their own piggy banks. My husband and I exchange handmade gifts as an example of giving that comes from the heart.  

When my kids recall Christmas memories they have never, and I mean never, talked about a gift they received. What my kids remember are Christmases that we spent with family out west or in the South. They remember a snowstorm that meant we could not go to the science center two days before Christmas or teaming up with the neighbor girls to gift a recently widowed neighbor with special treats each day of December. They remember piano recitals and singing Christmas Carols together. They remember moving the Wise Men closer to the Nativity each night after Christmas. Their memories are made from time together and experiences that define our family, not from something acquired at a great sale price.  

Time with children is short and precious. My desire is for my kids to grow up and remember the time we spent doing things together, not the flood of gifts under a tree one day a year.

1 comment:

Marisa said...

You make a very good point. My mom flew in for a visit a few weeks ago, and she and I were talking about the Christmas traditions my family and I had growing up. I told my mom that of course as a child I loved the anticipation of Christmas morning and opening presents under the tree, but with a few very special exceptions, I can't remember any gifts I received. What I DO remember is the time we spent together as a family during the whole month of December. Going to church, finding and decorating our tree, baking cookies, listening to Christmas carols, all the women in the kitchen on Christmas morning making the lasagna (we're Italian), etc. Those are memories I hold close to my heart, and they mean more to me than any gift ever could.