The Human Condition: Black Friday

Mariah Senecal, Staff Writer

Christmas is right around the corner. Those familiar strains of holiday tunes are already filtering into our eardrums everywhere we go — “too soon” for many. However, before that big day, there is another that’s starting to creep into the cultural psyche. Yes, Black Friday.

This day strikes fear into my heart. I’ll admit it, I’ve gotten up at 2 a.m. to sit in my car or camp out on a sidewalk. I’m thrifty and I like sales — I don’t feel as if there is any shame in wanting to save money. People work hard for their money, so it should work hard for you.

However, the thought of a sale shouldn’t make crowds lose their humanity. Those are people standing next to you in line. In no way should you even think about running towards those Walmart doors. It’s a material good you are squabbling over and running for, not your life!

Every year we have to hear about some unfortunate soul getting trampled on their way into whichever store that they have anxiously waited outside of for eight hours. Really, people? Walk calmly.

Christmas is supposed to be about love, charity and hope, not this greed fiesta that capitalism has superimposed upon the holiday season. Love shouldn’t be quantified by how many presents are underneath one’s Christmas tree. I understand the joy in ripping brightly colored paper off of boxes and the thrill of new things. Really, I do.

However, moderation is the key to success. If you buy thoughtful gifts, people will appreciate those far more than a multitude of gifts that were bought on a spending spree without thought put into them. Instead of buying 8 billion presents this year, how about a few thoughtful gifts and some quality time spent with family or friends?

As cheesy as this may sound, time should be the greatest gift of all. Memories last forever, but material goods do not. Joy should stem from interactions, not possessions.

A family that I know has a tradition called “Christmas from the Heart” in which they all make a gift for another family member by hand. It could be breakfast in bed, a knitted scarf or anything else. But every gift comes with the perk of spending time with your family and putting love and thought into making that person’s day.

So think about devoting time this year to actually listening to your grandpa’s stories, to not focus on what you are getting and instead focus on what you give (in a non-material sense). Give joy, give thoughtfulness and, most of all, give love.