Even thought I still have to cope with idiots who do not know the meaning of Advent - I like Advent. It begins on Sunday and is a familiar ritual involving lit candles and a winter cleaning of the soul. I find myself taking inventory of the past year, what went down (vs. what did not - like my weight) and thinking about what I want to do with the time I have left. Face it, at my age I know I have less time ahead of me than I do behind me and I’m good with that. I’m tired, for Pete’s sake, but I still want to make sure I use that time wisely and well.
I’m also busy making Christmas gifts because 1) I like to, and 2) all funds are delegated to paying bills and utilities. I have a place in the family room all cleared out for a Christmas tree – we can pick up a small one for very little and I have a need to get back to trimming a real tree that smells good, sheds needles – the works. I like the long observance of Advent and slower Christmas. I’ve never been one for the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales frenzy even when I did have money to shop. I just don’t particularly like shopping. It seems a waste of time to me and is often very frustrating. I like simple things, good lines, fine fabric and appreciate a nice seam finish. Try finding that these days.
Maybe that is why I can spend hours embroidering wool felt and watching Christmas movies. Every ornament is unique, every movie gets better with another viewing. Right now I’m watching ELF on an endless loop. There are more good one-liners in that movie than in almost any other Christmas movie. This past Sunday was the Downtown Santa Parade and while Santa looked pretty authentic sitting on top of the fire department’s ladder truck, I knew it wasn’t the REAL Santa and it was all I could do to not yell out, “YOU SIT ON A THRONE OF LIES!”
Slow down and enjoy the season. Life outside of the usual frantic holiday circus is pretty sweet and makes for better memories.
About three weeks ago I “hit the slide” at work and gave my notice. I’ve been juggling 4 different jobs for some time now and the mental and physical toll it has taken has proven to be WAY. TOO. MUCH. When you find yourself standing at the front door of your house trying to get in using the remote door opener for your car – it’s time to step back. When you collapse in tears because it isn’t working and you can’t figure out how you will get inside your house….well, desperate times call for desperate measures. (PS I’ve still got a part-time bookkeeping job and I work at my husband’s store, so it’s not like I’m really free……)
I’m cashing in the 10 hours a week I spent on the road for some sleep and rest. I’ve had a few days at home to begin the process of uncoiling my tightly wrapped head and body and I have the following observations to make:
- I can still sleep for hours like a champ.
- There is an unbelievable amount of CRAP on TV.
- What the hell is going on with “Black Friday”?
I’ll say right up front: I think stores should be closed on Sundays. Period. With the extended hours and 24 hour openings of most drugstores, there really isn’t any urgent reason for stores to be open on Sundays. Seriously. With that in mind, you won’t be surprised to hear me bitch about store openings on Thanksgiving. When did it become a matter of life and death for stores to be open ON Thanksgiving Day? Or at 4am? or 6AM on Black Friday? Target I think you should be horsewhipped. Do you hate your employees that much? I’m boycotting you for the foreseeable future. WalMart? Oh hell, I stopped shopping at your stores years ago so I’m not wasting my breath acknowledging your existence and continued scorched-earth policies. I really don’t get the whole “thing” about getting up early to go shopping but then I’m not a recreational shopper. For me it’s a chore. Besides, I can’t think of a single thing that would move my tail out of bed at 4 AM on a cold, dark November morning. Not. A. Single. Thing.
Ever hear that expression, “Money is like manure – you’ve got to spread it around”? I choose to spread my fertilizer around where I live. Area shops have the most wonderful (and unique) gifts. There is a new toy store that has the coolest things I’ve ever seen. They also have an art supply store! I’d go nuts in there, but I’d be buying for myself. There are a couple of great locally owned, non-chain coffee shops for when you need to rest and refuel. I’m betting your town has the same kind of deal going but too often people overlook the local shops or take the time to go and see what is there to choose from. (Most of them haven’t set foot in downtown for years and have no accurate clue about what is or isn’t available.) To these people I say, “STUPID. STUPID.” You must have time and money to burn. Good for you. I don’t.
There is the argument that you’ll save money if you go to malls, but I’m concerned with more than that - I’m looking at the time and effort and the cost of gas it takes to get there. Spend $10 more for a sweater in town or save $10 and go to the mall…. let’s see, it is a 46 mile round trip, about 3 hours (including driving and shopping), working my way through the crows, waiting in line or ….. for $10 more I’m home in 5 minutes? Bonus – a local small business owner gets a little help? For me – that’s a no brainer. Win win.
There is a wonderful campaign called Small Business Saturday that encourages people to shop locally once a month. The impact would be absolutely life changing for your town, your community and your friends. Support local artists – buy handmade. Do it often, not just once a month. Change the world. Tell the big banks to suck it. OCCUPY MAIN STREET. Do the right thing, do it as often as you can. Everyone wins and for that we can all give thanks – hopefully from the peace and quiet of our own snug homes.