Isn’t it funny how the things we once dreaded become the things we look forward to, and the things we once looked forward to become the things we dread?
For example, when I was 10 years old we lived with my grandparents for a short time. I remember getting all dressed up for church on Sunday mornings, and then we would come home, have lunch, and BOOM! It was NAPTIME! I couldn’t believe my mother went along with this enforced rest period my grandmother insisted on. My sisters and I would’ve to go to the Game Room and lay down on the sofa bed. Even if it lost the metal bar that hit us all mid-back and became the world’s most comfortable bed, I think I would’ve still laid there awake, full of fidgety energy, complaining about the fact that I was clearly too old for a nap. Now, I sometimes look up at the clock- 2:30 in the afternoon- I tell myself “if you close your eyes right now, you can squeeze in an hour before the bell” and I force myself to take a little nap before school ends.
Then there’s Wal-mart. When I first started driving, I would run any errand my mother had on her list: go to the cleaners, check. Pick up medicine from pharmacy, check. Buy groceries, check. Drop off sisters wherever sisters belong, check, check. I was the run around girl, for sure. When my mother-in-law first met me it didn’t take her long to realize I’d run around for her too. But she lived in a small town, and Wal-mart was pretty much the only errand around here. Still, I’d exchange her wrong-size vacuum bags and unwanted Christmas gifts and pick up her doggy bones pretty much anytime. Now I thank the good Lord I have a son with a driver’s license and when I say “go get some spaghetti sauce and cat food” he says “check”… (Which is the polar opposite of his big sister, because Blondie would have said that she didn’t believe in spaghetti and that the cat should have to hunt his own food, you know, so he could be closer to his wild animal ancestors!)
I’m at the point that I want to avoid Wal-mart like the plague. I still end up there twice a day, but I do it kicking and screaming. The place has lost its appeal. For the first time ever, I DIDN’T EVEN LOOK AT THE BLACK FRIDAY AD!! I know, shocking news!
I remember years ago, Blondie and Dyl Pickle were my only children. My husband and I would go to my father’s house. He would have the circulars in a pile on the dining table. We’d go through the various ads and circle the things we just had to buy. We’d get up at 5am and hit the stores together, taking turns waiting in lines for the “we just have to get this” items and we would end the morning with tired feet and a trip to IHOP to plan the rest of our holiday buying.
I know I will always treasure those moments I spent with my dad because it doesn’t seem like a Dad kind of thing to do… wait in line for a Game Boy and fill the basket with soft new jammies and make the list and check it twice and add three more things to that… That’s what Moms do, right?!
This year I didn’t buy anything on Black Friday. Nothing.
Have you noticed that Wal-mart has carried those $4 pajamas for the past decade and they look so cute at first, but one wash and the super soft fleece is transformed into itchy Velcro and they shrink 3 sizes? People fight it out over game systems and computers to save $20, just to learn that these holiday bundles don’t come with everything… like the printers that don’t even come with a power chord!! Can you believe that? Power chord sold separately? Yeah, Wal-Mart isn’t gong to give you an unbeatable deal, they’re just going to try to trick you into feeling that way. And now they can’t even wait until Friday, they start the nonsense in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner!
Last month I noticed they got new baskets. They were just a little longer than the old ones. It’s just a way to make you spend more money. They want you to think “oh I don’t have that much” and cram some more stuff in there. Personally I’m not falling for it. I’m sick of the corporate greed and mass buying that has taken over Christmas. I know I’m not the only one, but I want to go shopping somewhere that has truly unique items. Instead of 52 Darth Vaders on the shelf, I want to find that one gem that truly fits the person on my list. I haven’t lost my Christmas spirit, I’m just not getting it from Wal-mart this year. I want to give things with meaning- things that say “I truly love you and value you” instead of things that say “made in China”… of course I have a long list and 4 weeks to make it happen, and virtually no budget, but I wonder, what if I took the corporate out of my Christmas, would I do a better job of teaching my children the real reason for the season? I’m not saying I’m not going to buy anything, but I’m thinking, I just might not shop the way I used to do. I might look in the little stores and mom and pop shops and for unique hand-me-downs to send the message I’m trying to send. It’s not about knocking over your neighbor on Black Friday to get that 55inch TV, it’s about the birth of a baby who was sent to bring us peace, hope, joy, and love, and Santa Claus. Yeah, I still believe in Santa Claus….