First, the obligatory explanation of why this is called Black Friday. Back in the day when business accounts were written by hand in paper ledgers, black ink was used for profit and red ink was used for losses. When the day after Thanksgiving became the biggest buying day of the year, businesses that were “in the red” up until then hoped to sell enough to bring them into the black ink. Hence, Black Friday.
In the past few years, some stores began their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving, which is just so very very wrong. (See: The Cautionary Tale of Silas Rockport) This year, the Black Friday sales began before Thanksgiving, which makes it better, somehow.
Ah, yes. Still as in “however,” but also still as in “calm and quiet.”
Our family unplugged the Christmas machine years ago, and life became much better.
So today I recommend ways to simplify and let your heart be happy and still. Well, not still, you know, because that would be, like, probably fatal, but you know what I mean.
Cut down on junk mail. Catalogs, credit card offers, requests for donations from more places than you could possibly afford to support — three or four a month from the same place…. Pity the poor trees!
Instead of mountains of boxes and miles of paper and closets full of Stuff, register for things that, as Mr. Grinch says, don’t come from the store. Maybe you’d like a couple of tickets to an opera or a musical or a play or a baseball game. Maybe you’d like a pass to a museum or a water park. Maybe you’d like to take a cooking class, or lessons in watercolor painting. Maybe you’d like Aunt Jenny to teach you how to knit. Maybe you’d like to go fishing with your brother. Maybe you’d like an evening of board games or a day at the park. Maybe you’d like a gift certificate to a local restaurant or movie theater. You can set up a registry at SoKind, and your loved ones can go there and pick from your wish list.
“More love and less waste… More fun and less stuff… More joy and less stress.” Go ahead — Take the pledge!
But, if you don’t, I know you have your reasons. It isn’t easy. It isn’t simple. It can cause hurt feelings in people who don’t understand. We’ve been raised to believe that Stuff = Happiness, and that’s a hard “lesson” to unlearn. Maybe just ease off a little this year, and a little more next year, explaining gently as you replace money and mass with heart and thought. And, by the way, replacing hysteria with appreciation.
Some people thrive on the energy of the cooking/partying/gifting season, and I’m certainly not pontificating that they’re wrong! If you’re one of those folks, go, you! I love watching people who get a kick out of what they’re doing. But, if the season wears you down or frazzles you out, there are alternatives short of a meltdown. I’m just sayin’.
ANYWAY, happy Friday to all, and to all a good weekend.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: How does your main character celebrate Christmas, or whatever winter holiday their culture celebrates?