Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

I hope everyone had a nice thanksgiving. Ours was quick and busy, but very nice. We did some home improvements on Wednesday night and got up bright and early yesterday to drive to Buffalo. We met my parents at church at 10am. Jacob did really well at church. He made it a half hour before Craig had to take him out of the church. And even then, he wasn't crying or fussing...he just wanted to explore. They came back in for a little while and then had to go back out for a few more minutes, but all things considered, he did great. I don't know if it was the fact that it was harder for him to move around, or the different surroundings, or what, but he was a lot less fidgety than he is for church at home. After that we stopped at my parents' for a bit to bid them a fond farewell as they head to Cancun for the week (luck them!) and to visit my grandma, whose birthday is today. After that he headed off to Craig's parents' for thanksgiving dinner with his whole family. It was delicious and we had a very nice time. Jacob was a very good boy all day long. We made it home a little after 8pm, spent some time playing with Jacob, and I spent the rest of the evening checking out the Black Friday ads to see if anything was worth getting this morning.

Craig was off to work this morning and Jacob let me stay in bed until about 8am. We had a fun morning just getting ready, and then we headed out to do some shopping. I figured I'd probably miss the good stuff I wanted, but it was worth a shot. Sure enough, I missed the good sales. And really, the whole experience zapped my Christmas spirit before it even had a chance to get going. First of all, it's probably a mistake to take your kids out into that madness. Of course, tons of other people did, too. Strollers everywhere! And maneuvering around crowded racks and horrible lines was really hard. I couldn't even get into the toddler boys section of Children's Place the first time I stopped in because the line had completely blocked it off, and the second time past I did, but got trapped. It was horrible. Jacob was a very good boy for the entire trip, but I can only imagine what might have happened had we actually bought something and needed to wait in a line somewhere. Every line was a mile long...halfway back through the store in places like Old Navy and Kohl's. No thanks. It was all pretty disheartening, both that we didn't buy anything and that if we would have, it would have been a painfully long wait.

I usually don't go out on Black Friday. I used to have to work on Black Friday every year (hence Craig's absence today), but with my current job we always have off. In past years I've spent much of the day doing Christmas decorating. This year I'm not sure what to do. I know I'm going to put our tree up, but we were advised to go easy on the decorations this year in preparation for getting our house on the market, so I'm a little hesitant to even open those bins because I don't want to bum myself out about all the stuff I can't put up this year. I'll do it eventually, but it's a little frustrating. And with how active and mobile Jacob is this year, his naptime is the only time to do it. That happens to be right now, and quite frankly, I am not in the mood to do it. I'm probably going to head off for my own nap when I'm done with this blog post, even though I have a million other things to do. The morning just sort of zapped my energy.

The biggest bummer of the whole thing is probably the realization of the kind of world Jacob will grow up in. Maybe it's just perception, but I feel like he's going to grow up in a world where Christmas is so much more commercialized than ever. As we drove around listening to Christmas carols, I almost wanted to cry hearing a song like "Silent Night", knowing that the true meaning of Christmas is a far cry from the craziness of a day like Black Friday. The commercialism and gift-giving overshadows things so much, and I hate to think that I might not emphasize enough to Jacob over the next few years how important Jesus is to Christmas, just because I'll be too busy stressing out about the million things that need to get done. Christmas is such a fun time of year...the lights, the music, the treats, and yes, the gifts. As much of a burden as they can become as we get older, gifts are one of the things that made Christmas so exciting as a kid. And I would never want to take that experience away from Jacob, but I do hope that I can help him understand what is most important. I have fond memories of Christmas programs and youth group caroling, cookie baking and tree decorating, and I hope that Jacob learns to enjoy those simple things too. But it won't happen without a good, solid effort to steer him clear of the crass commercialism.

So, one shopping trip down and no gifts bought. I guess I need to work on my list and hope the sales keep coming but the shoppers decrease a bit. It'll all get done somehow, but hopefully I can keep Jacob out of the fray in the meantime!

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