Although retailers have notoriously been stocking the shelves with Christmas items earlier and earlier, US Thanksgiving remains the imaginary line beyond which all retail-hell breaks loose. Since I've been cultivating habits of mindful consumption and have a son who has a very short wish list,* the TV ads for after-Thanksgiving sales took me by surprise.
Every year, one of my cousins spends part of Thanksgiving afternoon pouring over the advertising supplements and planning out her route for the next morning. She gets a charge out of going out to the stores insanely early and completing all of her holiday shopping by 10 am.
I, however, am hugely averse to large crowds of people who are set on specific items and willing to push through anyone in their way. Trillian and I tend to do our shopping online and/or make gifts ourselves. Even if we don't get the monster deals of Black Friday shopping, I am willing to view the extra cost as a convenience surcharge (or maybe the cost of sanity).
In any case, one of the shocks yesterday was seeing the ads for stores that would be open at 4 a.m. 4 a.m. I already think that the "doorbusters" at 5 and 6 in the morning are a little crazy. But seeing this new bit of insanity, I begin to wonder how long it will be before stores open at midnight.
I'm not a Grinch, I'm not a Scrooge. I enjoy figuring out what exactly to get for everyone on my list and have a pretty good track record. But I'm not at all fond of the barrage of commercials during this season or the frenzy at malls and big-box stores.
Which is why I'll be glad once we make it past the holidays. And the after-Christmas sales. Argh, almost forgot about those.
*No, seriously. I've started asking him what he wants for Christmas and Hanukkah and he has a one-item list: a $30 Lego set which he has wanted since this past summer and which I know my mother-in-law has already tucked away in a closet. When I asked what else he wanted, he just said, "A tree and presents." He doesn't care what, just wants the Christmas morning experience.