The madness of "Black Friday"

Let the record show that I slept in on Friday, November 26, 2010 — this year’s “official” Black Friday — the day people go crazy that shelling out money they can’t afford buying items they don’t need in a commercialized glut of consumerism excess that has nothing to do with either the spirit of intent of the Christmas season.

Black Friday is a marketing invention — and a very successful one — designed to cash in on the idea that Christmas is about spending lavishly on loved ones while forgetting the religious significance of the holiday season.

Amy and I give gifts to each other throughout the year for one simple reason: We love each other and we don’t need a contrived, commercialized event to remember or honor that love. Instead of spending money on Christmas cards we put the funds into the pots of Salvation Army pots. Instead of digging out lavish Christmas decorations we give time and money to efforts to feed families that need help.  We will put up a tree but it will contain decorations that have been in our families for decorations.

We will gather toys for the Marine Corps. annual Toys for Tots activity in both the Roanoke and New River Valleys. I will bundle up on a cold December day and ridge my Harley in the annual Toys for Tots parade to help raise more money.  During the holidays I will man phones at a crisis assistance center to try and help those who seek into a horrible depression during the holidays.

Nine of every ten stories you will read today about “Black Friday” will talk about how retailers count on this one day of the year to put their businesses in the black.

I’m sorry, but this is not what Christmas is — or should be — about. For Christians, it is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of the son of a beloved deity.  For other religions, the holiday has different significances.  But conspicuous consumerism is not — or at least should not — be part of those reasons.

So I’m going to enjoy Black Friday with a fire in the fireplace, a hot cup of coffee and the smug satisfaction that I’m here and not there.

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