I used to get up early on Black Fridays, drag some of my friends with me to Circuit City or Best Buy, stand in line in the frigid early morning air.  This year, I slept in and managed to wait until 11:30am to venture out into the arena of retail shopping on Black Friday.

I think it’s very interesting that the two biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, happen within hours or days of giving thanks for all the things we already have.  It’s like saying “Thank you for a warm house to live in with lots of modern technology……Oh crap, I don’t have enough!!”

Now don’t get me wrong.  I know that a lot of gift shopping happens on these days, that we buy things for other people, and that makes it non-selfish spending.  But has consumerism really penetrated so deep into our minds that this is the only way we can tell people that we appreciate and love them?

Here are some figures for last year:

“So far, Cyber Monday has delivered on its mission, becoming the biggest single shopping day of the year for online retailers. And it keeps getting bigger: Sales on the day amounted to $1.25 billion in the U.S. in 2011, up 22% from 2010′s record highs, according to comScore. Sales on the second biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, tallied $816 million.”
– Lauren Indvik*

Last year, in two days, Americans spent over $2,000,000,000 at retail shopping.  That’s a LOT of dough.  But is buying things really the best use of our money?  Remember making hand-shaped turkeys for your parents in Kindergarten, or taking other crafts home to your parents when you were little?  Have you ever received a hand-made gift from a friend, and realized how much time and effort that must have taken?  What’s a gift that you’ve received that had meaning, but was not a tangible THING?

My point is to put some though into where your money and time go this Christmas season.  Consider tithing part of what you spend on gifts.  Perhaps find a gift that doesn’t cost money, and donate that money to a charity instead.  As we get ready to celebrate the coming of Christ, get wrapped up in your relationships, rather than wrapping things up.

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* – http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/26/tech/web/cyber-monday-mashable