What if We Just Don’t?

Black Friday Christmas Consumerism

What if we take a quiet moment and think about what we actually do need and want—from and for ourselves and others? I bet it’s not a flat-screen television.

What if we don’t buy into the frenzy of buying?

What if we ignore the frantic media drumbeat to charge into stores now that the cleverly named Black Friday, the official start of shopping season, is upon us? A clever euphemism for out-of-control consumerism does not make an orgy of spending any less an orgy.

What if we reconsider whether we really need any more stuff? What if we reconsider whether we really want any more stuff?

What if we don’t charge more things to credit cards? What if, come January, we don’t open our bills with racing hearts, constricting throats, and a sense of dread?

What if we spend our time establishing or maintaining our own traditions and actually communicating with the people we love? In other words, what if we don’t spend our time in overcrowded, overheated malls and big-box discount stores picking out more stuff nobody needs or wants?

What if we make the decision not to participate in the frenzy? What if we don’t allow ourselves to be lured by the inducements to spend, spend, spend? “Sale! Limited quantities! Today only! Today only from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.!” What if we don’t wait outside a store in the wee hours of the morning to be part of a stampede to buy more stuff?

What if we try to remember the last time stuff made us happy? What if we consider the idea that material items will never fulfill our most authentic wants and needs?

What if we take a quiet moment and think about what we actually do need and want—from and for ourselves and others?

I bet it’s not a flat-screen television.

I love Christmas. I love the tree, the music, the gatherings of friends, the whole pagan-Christian swirl of customs and beliefs.

I simply think it’s time—past time—to take a breath. Scale back the manic behavior, not to mention the manic spending. Consider giving one thoughtful, meaningful gift to each of the people you love rather than becoming part of the mob, complete with mob mentality. We rush to be at the stores before they open. We rush inside once the doors are opened—sometimes trampling people without regard for their lives. Anyone remember the Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death by shoppers one year? Why are we behaving this way?

What if we just don’t?

Susan Mihalic is a writer and editor based in Taos, New Mexico. She has taught writing and produced dozens of writing workshops. She specializes in New Adult fiction. Follow her on Facebook.com/susan.mihalic or on Twitter @susanmihalic.

Image via John Henderson/Flickr.

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