december thoughts and why I hate black friday
As semi-newlyweds a few years ago, we found ourselves tree-less for our second Christmas. We scavenged through the ads on Thanksgiving day to check out any amazing sales on Christmas trees. We set our eyes and our hearts on the the perfect one. It was a pre-lit, beautiful tree for 75% the original price at Home Depot. We decided to brave the Black Friday crowds because this tree just had to be ours.
We awoke early (or if I recall right, we didn't really go to bed), threw our sweatshirts on and drove a few miles to the already-crowded parking lot. We jumped out of our car and got in the line. The doors opened and we briskly walked to the pile of Christmas trees that were on such a good sale. Of course, there were only about 5 of the trees that were so heavily discounted. They were gone before we even made it to see any of them.
At this point, we weren't too sad. We just felt a little foolish for thinking we could actually get a couple-hundred dollar tree for under $50. Since we were already in the store, we decided to head back to the regular section for trees and see if there were any other good deals.
Much to our surprise, after looking through all the shelves, we found the tree we had originally wanted. Somehow, there was an extra stash of them between all the other varieties. I shouted over to Brandon, who was a few aisles over, that I found one. I was beginning to pull out the box, but because there were so many others stacked on top, I couldn't quite pull it out on my own. So as I was holding on to the box waiting for his help, a fiesty lady came running over and yanked the tree box right out of my hands. "Excuse me," I said in a firm voice, "that is my tree." Either she was deaf or blind because my words meant nothing to her. And the fact that I was holding on to it didn't mean anything either. She yanked the box out of my hands and walked away with it.
I was irate. That was OUR tree. I had it first. I wanted to run up and yell in her face and grab that tree right out of her hands. I would be justified in doing it, right?
And then it hit me. Those feelings I had at that moment were everything that I shouldn't ever be feeling, but especially Christmas. Christmas is about love, charity, kindness, service, sacrifice, and selflessness. And those were no where to be found in that Home Depot on Black Friday of 2009.
Just a few minutes later, I witnessed a different lady who had luckily snatched one of the original sale-price trees turn around to add something to her cart. Yet, someone had taken her cart with the tree in it. Nowhere to be found. Wow. They really needed the tree that bad to take it from her, too?
That my friends, is not what Christmas is about. I hated the way I felt. I hated that I was so mad over a silly little tree. And that is when I told myself I would never go Black Friday shopping again.
On the very opposite side of the spectrum, something made me giddy as a schoolgirl today. And that was receiving 2 Christmas cards in the mail. They were the first of the season and so I was overjoyed at getting them. I'm always telling Brandon about how it makes me sad to realize that there are so many dying arts and that it's my lot in life to keep them alive. I think sending Christmas cards is one of those dying arts. So, the fact that people are still sending them out is awesome. To me, it's much more than the updated family photo. (Although I love the photos and updates). The effort to send them is a token of friendship and an act of love and thoughtfulness. I like that a simple card once a year can make you feel so connected, even with those who live so far away. Christmas cards are one of my favorite things this time of year because they invite the true Christmas cheer into the season.
Happy December everyone. I hope it's filled with the receiving-a-Christmas-card-in-the-mail kind of joy and peace from knowing that our Savior was born to make our life meaningful and happy, despite what trials or circumstances we may be in.