Since yesterday, I have received 11 Cyber Monday emails from three companies alone. The blitz to get my e-business is frantic, desperate, and embarrassing.
My wife and I did not participate in any Black Friday sales, nor did we shop at all this weekend in any stores or online. We spent the time outdoors, walking the trails nearby with our children or working at our daughter’s farm for one of the higher-level competitive shows. We were fortunate to be given four days off during the Thanksgiving break, and we were determined to spend them with each other and not fighting with strangers about toys or boots.
Not that we were able to escape the insanity entirely. Just being on the roads put us in the trenches with desperate individuals determined to be the most important person on the road during this most selfless time of the year. I felt more like a defender in an NFL game than a simple driver heading out to our local park.
Unfortunately, I know this isn’t going to get any better as we creep closer to the end of December. The roads will become even more dangerous, and the levels of rudeness and disrespect will continue to shock many of us.
But it’s not my place to teach any of them a lesson, nor is it anybody else’s right to “show them” who’s right or who’s wrong. I can’t imagine a single one of them stopping, reflecting, and adjusting their attitude or behavior because I honked my horn, flipped them a choice finger, and used my Jeep as a defensive weapon. Any of those things will only escalate the battle, and I will be just like them, engaging in a ridiculous battle of selfish emotions over the temporary ownership of a driving lane or a parking space.
Really–it’s just not worth it.
Aren’t these signs of how the significance of the holidays has shifted from friends, family, relationships, and religious celebrations to nothing more than getting and spending, getting and spending?
Very sadly, there is little difference between how the colleges manipulate the high school experience and how stores manipulate the holiday experience. We are being manipulated by higher powers that have nothing to do with learning, God, spirituality, or even ourselves. Our opportunities to resist such manipulations are harder and harder to find each year.
Or are they?
We told our kids we’re scaling back the quantity of gifts this year, and they’re okay with it. Our time spent together this weekend had nothing to do with spending money or getting things, and it was one of the best weekends we’ve shared as a family in a long time. My kids have even decided that the best gifts they can give this year are the ones they can make. It isn’t coincidental that, in light of such decisions, our personal relationships are improving because we are focused not on getting and spending, but on giving and cherishing.
Giving and cherishing…Isn’t that what all this was about in the first place?
If you got your great deals this weekend, and even if you are spending the day online during Cyber Monday, do it quickly, get it over with, and stop at the store on the way home to get some sugar, flour, butter, and chocolate chips. Help the kids with their homework, and end the night baking some cookies with them.
You know as well as I do that, in 20 years from now, they’ll remember making those cookies more than anything they might find under the tree this year, or any other year for that matter.