It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the US. We have a day of thanks, where we recite all the things we are grateful for, then we all get up before dawn tomorrow, to rush through the crowds, fighting for the best deals.
I guess shopping like greedy little bastards, elbowing your neighbor to grab that cute blue sweater. A day of mourning is fitting. Sort of like what happened to the natives, but instead of greedy bastards grabbing land, we’re grabbing some bit of clothing or some little nic-nac before someone else gets it. In fact we are so greedy here that many stores are open today, so you can eat and be thankful that Wal-Mart opens at 4PM on the same day.
Just to be clear; I am not shopping, today or tomorrow. I may do some online shopping tomorrow, but I’m only buying a couple of things for my husband. I am so anti-consumerism this year, I don’t want to celebrate Christmas with gifts at all. I don’t care to get a tree or decorate the house. I don’t believe in the religious reason for Christmas, so that leaves the fact that it’s a glorified gift giving/getting frenzy. And I’m too poor anymore to buy into it.
It’s not just that we’re broke this year either. It’s been coming on for the last few years. I’ve only been participating because it’s expected, and for my grandson. But it struck me particularly hard this year that Grandson takes it for granted that he will get everything he wants, and if something should break, it will get replaced.
If he leaves his skateboard in the yard and it get’s stolen, it will be replaced. He recently dropped one of the school’s laptops, and found himself grounded for 10 days! He didn’t know what to make of that. School was only half days all that week, so for him to stay off his Kindle and his X-Box (or whatever game he has on his TV) was really difficult. I taught him to play Rummy, and we spent a lot of time on that. He also spent some time re-discovering reading, though very grudgingly. Even if it didn’t make a big impression on him, it really made me think about all the things he gets–what all of us get and take for granted.
So Christmas will definitely be a small affair. Even smaller than our usual. If the rest of the family wants the house decorated and a tree put up, they’ll have to do it themselves. I did it all last year and I refuse to this year. I don’t feel like celebrating the birth of a fictional character by buying into the mass consumerism the holiday has become.
Maybe it’s just everything I’ve been through these last two years. Maybe it’s my sense of Buddhism. Maybe it’s just an age thing. But I have enough. I have a home and will have a roof over my head regardless when we lose this house. We have three cars and are only making payments on one. Granted they are now 4, 6, and 8 years old,but they all run and are cheap to renew. I have a small family, and few friends. I’ll be living the rest of my life on what I get from Disability. But it is enough.