27 November 2009


Black Friday marks the beginning of a five week barrage of holiday advertising and it's enough to suck every last little bit of fa-la-la spirit from the season. Especially when I hear about people camping outside of Target and waiting in seven hour lines just to get in the door. It embodies everything I dislike about American consumerism and I can think of 100 things I'd rather do than engage in acts of retail S&M.

Call me Ebenezer Scrooge, but materialism, Macy's and a lack of religious convictions has left me feeling pretty noncommittal about the whole holiday season. I gave up holiday gift-giving more than a decade ago -- unless it's bringing a host/hostess gift to a soiree. And that's because I was brought up to never arrive at someone's home empty-handed (a good rule to live by). I also send handwritten thank you notes; another dying bit of etiquette I was taught at a young age. I don't buy a Christmas tree, string lights or bake snowflake shaped sugar cookies. Believe me, I enjoy reaping the secondary benefits when others do, I just don't find enough significance in those tasks to do them myself.

Instead, I've made conscious decisions to eschew the stress and pressures of the season and have stumbled upon solace in the most unexpected of places -- during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. By slowing down and taking a few steps back from seasonal madness, I've been able to embrace a calm and find personal meaning from the sidelines. Here's hoping everyone finds meaning this holiday season.

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