If the multitude of advertisements are accurate, then this Friday is going to be a day to behold! There will be savings! Happiness! Music and dancing!
Black Friday, of course, is the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday. It’s the ‘kick-off’ day for Christmas shopping in the US. And it’s a tradition that’s growing/morphing every year. Black Friday hours got longer and longer, in some places starting at midnight and going for 24 hours non-stop. In 2005, the tradition of “Cyber Monday” upheld online shopping days after the Black Friday event itself. Now retailers are promoting Black Friday Week and Cyber Week shopping – basically extending the consumer opportunities into a 2-week shop-a-thon, either in stores or online.
This event/tradition/maelstrom seems to me to be highlighting consumerism over all else. ALL else. And it gives me pause for a few reasons. I’ll not go into much depth for any of these, but am curious if other people are thinking this way…
In Canada we don’t celebrate US Thanksgiving (having turkey-ed ourselves out weeks ago), so why would our shopping season depend on what our southern neighbours are doing?
Are we, as a society, losing our entire understanding of what Christmas is about (one Canadian advert has a mother high-fiving her kids’ focus on baubles and toys and shopping as “Christmas Spirit”)?
Are we, as a society, allowing the violence and closed-heartedness that takes place during these sales to become acceptable to us?
Do we consider how the companies making profits spend their money – are they ethical, do they treat employees fairly, do they support local economy?
If we participate in this shopping frenzy, are we being complicit in allowing consumerism to subvert Advent in our own lives?
Has our seasonal spirituality become getting more and better deals than others?
And finally: is this really who we want to be, as Christians? Are we demonstrating faithful witness in how we act in these situations?
I, of course, don’t have the answers, and I am not making judgements. But I do have my own opinions, which will influence my own actions. I hope that others will also give some careful thought and reflection when bombarded with information about what’s up for sale this weekend.
Thoughts? (caring) Comments?