I really hate what the holidays have become - so materialistic. Everybody's on a shopping frenzy for Christmas presents today (Black Friday) for items that are almost guaranteed to be put in a yard sale next summer, or high up in a closet, or deep in the basement - totally forgotten. These items never emit the same energy use when they were purchased.
In my lifetime I have seen quiet days with family give way to a frenetic race to nowhere. I remember when stores - all stores - were closed on Sundays. My parents both played the Rule of the House card on Sundays - no other people. No friends.
I remember when Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving were times set aside for quality family time. There was no Black Friday. It was family time - even though at major holidays, my Mom would be busy in the kitchen and Dad would hunker down to a football game. Over the years, I have acquired many presents for family and friend that I store, wrapped, with a journal of what I bought or made and who it was for. Then at Christmas time, I just enjoyed the caroling, the smells, drives to look at lights. The Crescent in downtown Spokane had a marvelous turning display of Christmas carolers, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Victorian houses. That would be part of the route my Dad took to look at lights on Christmas Eve. It felt magical.
My parents kind of hated the Christmas holidays. They had little money and we four kids would get one clothes present and one personal present. This year, I kind of hate Christmas just a little too. There are two new babies 80 miles away, one son in Arizona and one in Moscow, Idaho. We'll probably do a lot of baking and send care packages to the sons. No more little traditions like staying home alone with family. My sons are building new traditions.
But Black Friday is still abhorrent to me, somehow sacrilegious. This huge pressure to get lavish presents, and more than one, for each person on your list with no mention of God or Jesus or the Nativity story.
My humble opinion.