“Ugh! Black Friday consumerism is just so disgusting. The day after we give thanks for what we have, we go buy a bunch of stuff we don’t need,” is what my dad said when my sister and I forced him into a Target at midnight on Black Friday.
My dad doesn’t give Christmas presents, but that’s because he’s married to my mom. Mom’s a gift-giving warrior. She spoils every person in her life to such a degree that I always wind up with post-Christmas guilt for having received so much. So, my dad just doesn’t get the gift giving thing because he really has nothing to do with it…except, you know, funding it. (Thanks, Dad!)
I tried to explain to him that Black Friday didn’t have to be about consumerism and that people without disposable incomes who want to give to their loved ones are simply being good stewards.
My in-laws are really good at Black Friday. They do all their shopping that day and are so generous on Christmas Day.
I don’t think Black Friday is an awful day that represents the “evil” of consumerism. It can be, but it’s all about how you do it and how you raise your kids to view it. If you shower your kids with toys and don’t teach them the joy that comes from giving to others, then yeah – you’re going to produce materialistic brats who feel entitled to everything. Kids who are raised to feel entitled grow up to be cocky adults who expect the government to take care of them.
My dad says we should just quit giving gifts. But, there’s another way to raise your kids to be generous without becoming Holiday Scrooges.
Jessica is a friend I went to church with who has four kids. She gave her oldest daughter, Gabriella, $100 to spend on any person or cause she wanted. Gabriella toyed with the idea of having a movie night for homeless people, but wasn’t sure what she’d do. Then Cassie, a sweet lady from their church who was waiting to adopt a baby, got a call from the hospital that there was a newborn there whose mother had left her – waiting for a mom. Cassie had nothing ready – no pacifiers or baby clothes or swaddling blankets.
Gabriella overheard her Mommy talking to Cassie about the new baby and said, “Mom – I know what I want to spend my money on.” She went on a Babies-R-Us spree and got to go with her mom to take all the baby supplies to Cassie herself. She saw firsthand what a blessing it is to give.
That kind of parenting is what is going to help with our materialistic, credit-card-happy consumer culture – not condemning people who shop on Black Friday. People that I know who shop on Black Friday are some of the most financially responsible and generous people I know.
As a Christian parent, I have been talking about Christmas every day with my three-year-old and explaining to her that it’s so exciting and we have all these festivities and decorations because it’s Jesus’ birthday party. I tell her that we give presents to eachother to remind ourselves that Jesus gave us the greatest present we could ever have – Himself.
Non-Christian parents can fight consumerism by focusing on the giving aspect of the holiday. Don’t just make Christmas about getting your kids everything on their list. Give them the joy of buying presents for people in the family. And hey – you can also make your gift-giving echo our country’s anti-entitlement founding values if you shop at Patriot Depot or 76 Garments.
What is your view on the Black Friday frenzy?