The holiday season is everyone’s favorite time of year. It’s an opportunity for families to come together, eat lots of great food, and think about past few months. It’s a time for reflection and introspection, planning for any changes to make for the upcoming year.
One thing that has always confused me is what exactly holiday season means in a broader sense, as it is the biggest time for consumer purchases in the retails season. Even my mom went out and bought gifts for all my cousins and relatives we would be visiting.
In a timeline, we start with Thanksgiving in November. This is a holiday mainly centered around food, but we reflect on all the opportunities, resources, people etc. who we are so grateful to have in our lives. We think about how we would not be where we are today without all these experiences we have been blessed with.
And as soon as we are done appreciating what we have, we immediately head to the stores to take advantage of the Black Friday (or Thursday? Idk anymore) sales. All those things we’ve always wanted now at a somewhat reasonable price so we take advantage of that.
I’ve never really been too invested in the shopping craze because I don’t want to deal with the crowds and the lines, but also because of all the times throughout the year, this is the time I am most mindful of what I already have and appreciating that. It amazes me how the nation is overcome with this shopping frenzy, standing in line for hours in the cold or camping out the night before. Then after a weekend for rest, Cyber Monday hits. Anything you weren’t able to get in store you now have an opportunity to buy from the comfort of your bedroom on your laptop.
It almost seems as if Giving Tuesday was created to counteract the massive expenses of the past few days — like a “get out of jail free” card to ease your guilt of the amount of money spent on yourself by giving to others. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great concept and many organizations raise lots of money from giving Tuesday.
Post-Thanksgiving, we hit the holidays full swing, the Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza celebrations which brings another onslaught of gifts.
But what if rather than focusing on the material gifts that bring temporary happiness, we focused on the best gift of all: time.
When doing a Secret Santa with my hallmates, my friend drew my name and struggled to think of a knick-knack to get me. Finally she came up with a gift idea: She would take me out to brunch. So technically, the gift was the meal, but what I appreciated the most was the time and conversations we had.
As we enter December and get ready for the holidays, keep in mind what has the most meaning. I’m sure your friends, siblings, cousins etc will appreciate that gift you give them, but they’ll appreciate more the memories you make together.