black friday

My Relationship With Consumerism During The Holidays: Thank You, Next!

consumerism relationship
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The dishes were done. Dessert served. Pants stretched to the max.

After a day of cooking, all I wanted was to unwind, watch cheesy shows and scroll through Instagram. My hubby, kids and I were all snuggled on the couch enjoying each other’s company. It truly was a Hallmark moment.

Although, the longer we laid there the more we were bombarded by commercials for Black Friday sales.  I’m not one to easily be swayed by ads but then an Old Navy commercial came on. All of a sudden, I remember we had family pictures the next day and I began to question our clothing options.

Here are the series of events that quickly followed:

  • I need a new shirt to wear.
  • The one I was going to wear is old.
  • I definitely need something new.
  • Do I have time to get one before tomorrow morning?
  • Let me get my phone and see what they have.
  • Scrolls through shirts.
  • Oh, that’s cute and so is that.
  • I wonder if they are open tonight.
  • Checks time. They are.
  • It’s not too late. I can still get over there and back before the kids go to bed.
  • I’m really comfy here on the couch.
  • Do I really need a new shirt?
  • Do I want to go out in the crowds?
  • I do not want to wait in a line for one shirt.
  • Is this something I really need?
  • Remember clothes are an investment because you are going to wear this over and over.
  • I do not like to be rushed.
  • People are not going to be looking at you.
  • Family pictures are all about the kids anyways.
  • Man, this blanket is comfy.
  • Sets phone down and kisses child.
  • Remembers that Thanksgiving is about family.

Resist The Marketing Pull

There is a moment during this interaction where I pause and think about if I really need the shirt. At this point in my life adding to my wardrobe is a commitment. A year ago, I pared down my choices to items I will actually wear by doing my version of Project 333. A new shirt that comes in has to be something I want to wear many times because it’s now a staple in my closet.

I went back and forth after spending time relaxing, watching football with the family and scrolling through my phone. The barrage of Black Friday sales came flooding at me and could I really pass up a 50% off discount??? The realistic introvert in me won over in the end, reminding me that the shirt I have will work great.

Avoid Consumerism By Unplugging

It was completely out of the norm for us to have the TV on all day. The rules from our summer screen time challenge have become new habits except for special occasions. Several months ago I did add a new rule: If your device has sound, it has to be used upstairs. All the extra noise was too much for my ears.

This has nothing to do with me being an old curmudgeon but instead it’s about the mixing of several different noises. I love a bass dropping dance party just like the next person but when my four children are all watching different videos, it is overwhelming. I’ve even uttered the words that scream I’m getting old: Turn down that noise, you kids, I can’t hear myself think!

Throughout the day we were bombarded with ad after ad telling us about Black Friday deals. I was getting pulled into the madness of it all. As an introvert, the prospect of crowds raises my anxiety levels and I’d rather stay home anyways.

Several years ago after Christmas, we went to the mall to redeem gift cards and I couldn’t do it. The stores were too busy and the lines were too long. I couldn’t find anything I really wanted because it was all too much.

Since having kids I have learned the best time to go shopping is Monday morning. Many people are at work so the crowds are smaller allowing me to get in and out with minimal fuss.

Tis’ The Season of Giving

Online shopping is perfect for the introvert in me. I know exactly what I want and am done in a matter of minutes.  During the holidays, I love shopping for other people, picking out gifts I know they will really enjoy. I put a lot of thought into what I get because I want it to be special and not clutter up their home.

For my kids, this is a time we think realistically. Is this something they are going to play with over and over or is it going to collect dust in my basement? For years, I wanted to get something from my heart, but I have realized that I would rather get something they will love. I used to hate lists because it wasn’t creative, but then I remembered gifting is about the act of giving more than the present itself.

When people ask what I want this year, I’m honest. I do need new clothes, but what I want is a whole day to go shopping by myself. I want to have time to really be present and not worried if my kids are knocking over displays. The best part is when I told my husband this, he wasn’t concerned about the shopping as much as he was in my needing a whole day to myself.

In the end, this no nonsense girl is happier spending time with family, making memories to look back on for years to come. So to you, Consumerism, Thank You, NEXT!



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