Tips For the Holidays (Or Why You Should Stop Complaining About Black Friday and Be Thankful Instead)
I am honestly astounded by the strange sense of entitlement people seem to have today. I’ve seen so many statuses and shared articles about Black Friday — moreso than I feel I’ve ever seen before around this time of the year. I’ve figured out that it’s because two stores notorious for participating and being crazy during this event are opening their doors on the eve of Thanksgiving rather than at 12:00 AM on the day after.
What’s even more strange to me though is how these very same people are simultaneously complaining about something while also admonishing others for their lack of gratitude this holiday season, due to their decisions to participate in an enormous sales event rather than stay at home and shovel their faces with turkey. SERIOUSLY?
How dare Black Friday not be in line with your personal traditions and schedule?! How outraged you must feel that companies who provide employment for millions of people have asked them to work on this holiday — something these dear employees knew about upon being hired and had the opportunity to request off, as per the protocol of every single Target and Walmart chain in the country?! How upsetting that these amazing deals are not available to you, because you have prior plans with your family and don’t want to give up quality time in favor of sensational sales?!
Try to keep in mind that you aren’t entitled to these deals, guys. There are no laws saying that companies need to lower prices right before the gift-giving season — Black Friday is actually mutually beneficial to both the companies as well as the shoppers. On no other day of the year will you find a 50″ LCD TV for less than $230, and that is the beauty of this one sale.
As angry as you may be that Target and Walmart are opening a whole *GASPOMGOMG* 4 hours earlier this year, and as upset that you may feel that your own job has asked you to work additional hours or shifts, let’s not ignore the fact that America’s unemployment rate as of November 8th OF THIS YEAR is at a whopping 7.3%. That’s just 3.5% lower than our countries all time high of 10.8%!
And in direct relation to those astounding facts, there are over 600,000 homeless people in our country alone on any given night that are without a safe, warm place to sleep. There are rock musicians molesting young babies, parents murdering their own children in the name of “discipline”, there are natural disasters uprooting and hurting entire cities of people. This world can be a cruel, ugly and dangerous place — made even moreso by the constant outpouring of judgmental negativity being spouted in honor of “being thankful”.
Listen, guys. I am not here to tell you that anyone is wrong or that anyone is right — but I do urge you to have some perspective. I think we can unanimously agree that we all, collectively, have much to be thankful for. Sure, we have our woes and our dramas, we have our frustration and our heartache — but we’re alive. We have technology, medical advancements, love. We have feelings that can inspire symphonies and can see things that make us weep. We have come so far and have even more to discover, grow, learn and create.
Have perspective. Stop trying to shame other people for participating in Black Friday, stop trying to force your personal beliefs (in this and other matters) on those around you. Not everybody has had the same upbringing that you’ve had, not everybody has been raised to believe in the same values. Be conscientious of those around you — This doesn’t mean you have to change who you are or what you’re about, but why would you want to live a life that is harmful to those that you share it with?
You never know who comes from a broken home, who has bad associations with Thanksgiving due to religious or personal reasons or who may be a single mother working 3 jobs to put food on the table for her children — and so she can wait in line for 6 hours and get her kids the new toy that she’d never be able to afford on the other 364 days out of the year thanks to this sale.
This Thanksgiving and through all of the Holiday Season, I urge everyone reading this to practice gaining perspective. While there are no ways to compare various instances of suffering, there are steps we can take to lessen that of those around us. Rather than add to the existing negativity that surrounds us, put your efforts into radiating positivity and being grateful for every single breath you have taken this year and will take until you stop.
Below are 6 helpful tips to those who may not be able to contain themselves over the next few days, or to those who may be wanting to participate in Black Friday but are too nervous of the negative stigma to ask for guidance. These tips may seem simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people haven’t bothered to consider them.
6 Tips to Getting Through This Thanksgiving / Black Friday
1) Do your research.If you’re planning on making an event of this year’s sale, do your research ahead of time and make a plan for yourself. Black Friday is, by tradition, chaotic and frenzied — The more planning, the better. Narrow down the stores you’ll be visiting, the items you’ll want from each and the layout of the stores themselves. Checking reviews on the items you’re planning to buy is crucial as well — many stores like to boast of their “doorbuster” sales, which can sometimes put normally less-coveted brands on a pedestal that many customers are unhappy to find doesn’t hold up later.
2) Stay safe and smart. Don’t go shopping alone — It’s safer to go with at least one other person. Keep your small children at home or in the car with an adult. While you may be conscientious of those around you, sometimes other people are not and you do not want to risk your own personal safety over a PS4 or an iPad. Similarly, if you see that someone or something will be harmed in your attempt to claim an item, pass on it. There are no electronics or sales or gifts that are worth causing damage to another person. Exercise your power of free will and your ability to exert common courtesy and basic civility to others — even when they aren’t doing the same for you.
3) Make a plan and dress appropriately. Choose a store you’re already familiar with — perhaps one that you shop at regularly or have just been to before. This way, you’ll be able to maneuver yourself to the exact items you want and will be able to get in and out and back home to start wrapping and/or enjoying your new stuff! Also try to dress comfortably with form fitting clothing — there are typically many people at these events, and a long earring or a flowing fabric can create an unsafe environment for yourself in such a small retail space. I’d also suggest against shoes with heels, cleats, clothing with studs or any other potentially damaging things that could hurt someone else.
4) There will always be Cyber Monday. If you don’t want to go anywhere, but are a little miffed that you’re missing out on some of the great deals happening this year, keep in mind that most online companies are going to have major sales of their own — and that most of them will be doing their best to keep up with the sales from the brick and mortar stores’ sales events as well! You don’t have to choose between getting a great deal and spending your holiday with your family — you can do both! This also works for those who aren’t able to get the holiday off to do their own shopping.
5) If you don’t want to participate in Black Friday this year / disagree with it / are unhappy about it, STAY HOME! While I agree that this may be the most simple and obvious tip at all, I think it’s what this really all comes down to. If you’re unhappy with something, WHATEVER the reason, then don’t participate. Nobody is forcing you to leave your family dinner, nobody is holding a gun to your head while screaming at you to purchase that shiny new e-reader. Unless you’re working on this day (to which I’d refer you back to my previous paragraph on unemployment rates and how you should be grateful to have any job at all right now — and I will be working on Thanksgiving as well!), there is absolutely no reason that you should even have to visit any store at all – save for that last second hunt for cranberry sauce or boxed stuffing (ha, good luck!). I am not saying it doesn’t suck — but is it really worth all the negativity you’re feeling? Accept the things you can’t change and move on.
6) Have perspective. Times are hard, and while I do agree that spending time with loved ones should be valued over spending time with your electronics, there is nothing better than getting cozy with your family and friends around a giant flat-screen and watching your annual Christmas movie marathons with mugs of steaming hot cocoa and the twinkling lights from your Christmas tree. Take time to appreciate what you have rather than what you do not, and to tell the people you love how much they mean to you.
Family and gratitude are important year round. Opting to spend your holiday in line waiting for the camera you’re lusting after does not make you a horrible person, just like choosing to spend your time at home rather than shopping doesn’t make you a better one. Whether you spend the next few days buying sale items or overloading on Grandma Myrtle’s Homemade Southern Comfort Pecan Pie, please stay safe and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
* NOTE: This is solely my opinion. You are absolutely entitled to a different one! If you want to continue posting stuff about how hateful Black Friday is, be my guest. Just know that all those posts will be hidden from my news feed. Ain’t nobody got time for that!