I'm not against shopping. Or gifts. Or sales. I'm not against buying someone something they'll really love, like a LEGO set or iPod or that new whatzit. I'm not against the thrill of presenting someone with a gaily-wrapped package, filled with something to make them smile.
What I am against is stress and debt and waste and worry. I am against the feeling of "is this enough?" I am against the obligation, the frustration, the exhaustion.
When I say that I want us to do the holidays another way, it doesn't mean we have to make every single gift out of recycled newspapers or that we should forgo all holiday parties. It's that I want us to be conscious of what the real meaning is and how we want to express it. Exphasis on the "we" part. Meaning, our culture and capitalism should not dictate what the next four weeks are like for us. We choose. We create.
Here's an example. I just read a Los Angeles Times article about how some stores are starting their Black Friday sales as early as 10pm on Thanksgiving night. Grrrrrr! Thanksgiving is traditionally the one day that is solely focused on spending quality time with people we love. It's never been associated with shopping (well, beyond those grocery trips) or gifts. I never really liked the idea of Black Friday and the madness of it all, but this new extension onto Thanksgiving just seems wrong. Luring people away from the people they love so they can shop for the people they love? Grrrr again.
So here's what I'm proposing. I want us to create a different way. I want to create The New Black Friday, one in which at least part of the day is devoted to spending time making at least one gift for someone we love. In particular, I want to start a tradition of people spending part of the New Black Friday making a Love List for someone in their life — spouse, child, parent, friend, co-worker, deli-owner, anyone. Chances are, you've heard me talk about the Love List before. If you haven't, please watch this 2-minute video that tells what it is and how to make it. It is absolutely free and is one of the very best gifts you can give or recieve. I can promise you that if you spend one hour on Black Friday making a Love List, it will be the most rewarding and happy hour of your day.
Black Thursday (Thanksgiving's new name) and Black Friday can be what they are. But will you join me in stepping into The New Black Friday, in which part of the day is dedicated to using our creativity and heart to make a gift that doesn't cost a dime — but could transform someone's life?
Happy Thanksgiving Eve. I'm so very grateful to be connected to you within this spirited community! Lucky, lucky me.