The days from Thanksgiving through December can be a difficult, trying, stressful time. Or an enjoyable, family-centered, busy in a fun way time. For most people, it turns out to be a combination of both.
My time began on a disappointing, or more accurately a frustrating, note.
I did not set the alarm Thanksgiving night. The following morning I woke early, and although no alarm jolted me out of a deep sleep (sleeping is one of my greatest skills), the clock read 6:20. I rolled over, then immediately thought about my 7:00 a.m. Zumba class.
I knew I could use some spirited exercise after two days of cooking and eating.
I climbed out of bed, threw on gym clothes, and crept silently out of the house, leaving hub and houseguests sleeping peacefully in the warm, cozy house.
My car thermometer registered 32 degrees.
Approaching the gym I noticed no cars parked along the street. Well, I figured, it was the day after a holiday and everyone was sleeping in or out of town. On the other hand there are always a few hearty souls around. I had a sinking feeling I would not be exercising.
Walking toward the building entrance, it appeared dark and deserted. My intuition proved right. A note taped to the door indicated the gym would open 8:00 a.m. the Friday after Thanksgiving.
I know, it was my fault. Should have checked the website or Facebook.
Sometimes I am not social media savvy enough for today’s world. Perhaps because I did not grow up using Internet tools, electronic devices are not always the first place accessed for information. Or I make presumptions and assumptions and do not check them out before acting.
I turned around, got back in the car, and drove home, stopping momentarily to stock up on bagels for breakfast. The salesgirl asked if I was out early for a shopping spree, and answered, “No way!” She said her family passed Best Buy on the way home from dinner the night before – Thanksgiving night - and the parking lot was packed. Four policemen directed people – not traffic - rushing to get pre-Black Friday Best Buy bargains.
The outlets in our town opened 6:00 a.m. Black Friday morning.
I strongly disagree with our consumer-oriented world’s push to open as early as possible Black Friday, Thanksgiving night, or Thanksgiving Day.
I feel badly for employees who have to cut short their holiday and work because people cannot wait to participate in what has become an all-American pastime. Shopping may be today’s number one American leisure time activity and sport. Not a sport exactly, more like a form of exercise, consisting of running into stores as the doors open, yelling at kids, sales clerks, and other shoppers reaching for the last item on the shelf, simultaneously lunging for merchandise, walking long distances through malls, and building muscles carrying packages.
I fail to see the fun in such exercise.
Marketers love hype. We view the evening news and watch people running into stores and walking around with baskets full of merchandise. Continuously inundated with TV ads, catalogs and mailers, advertisers hope we will jump in our cars and drive to the nearest big box store, mall or outlet center, credit cards firmly in hand.
Most of us will do some shopping in the coming month – for gifts, for more food than usual as we entertain and enjoy friends and family gathering at home, purchase holiday decorations and possibly winter paraphernalia should the weather turn ugly.
I am a fan of Small Business Saturday. Actually I am a fan of shopping locally throughout the year.
So I am throwing my hat in the small business ring. Patronize local independent stores.
Shop Main Street, not Chain Street.
And may your December be happy, healthy, and stress free. Perhaps most important, do not forget to allow plenty of time for fun.