There are times when I don’t feel like I fit in as a member of our society. I’m sure that everyone feels this way once in a while. In a time when efficiency, convenience and cost-effectiveness are prized, I sometimes enjoy taking the road less traveled, or at least the longer road. I am coming to recognize this is a trait shared by all of the women In my family.
I don’t own a car, and choose to live in locations where walking, public transit and carpooling are all realistic options. While it is easy to live beyond our means using credit, payment plans and loans, I have always been a saver and prefer to steer clear. I prefer paper books over e-Readers, and I still prefer to do my shopping in a store.
Food is important to me. Creating meals from scratch using whole ingredients, is one of my favorite challenges every day. And much to my partner’s vexation, I am a relentless label checker when it comes to shopping at the grocery store. Slowly I am convincing him to shun the center aisles where the vast majority of processed foods reside. Homemade bread and butter? Yes please. Want McDonald’s? Only if I’m starving. Or searching for drunk food with limited options (because let’s be honest here).
However, there is so much more to this feeling of ‘not belonging’ than a set of lifestyle choices!
As of Black Friday, Christmas preparations in the northwestern hemisphere are in full swing. For anyone not familiar with this event, Black Friday is the first Friday after American Thanksgiving when retailers open their doors early, run some major sales and get consumers into the Christmas spirit. For most people in this day and age, that means shopping. According to the Wikipedia page, this has been a thing since the early 2000’s.
Cyber Monday is now also a thing, following directly on the heels of Black Friday. Black Friday sales have been dropping as consumers decide to stay home and shop from their couches, so Cyber Monday attempts to take advantage of this information and catch those consumers too. Spend, my pretties! Spend!
Black Friday in America
In recent years, my family has become one of those that decide to stay home! And we skip Cyber Monday, too. Besides a major reduction in the amount of gifts we give every holiday season, we also try to make as many of our gifts home made as possible. Although more challenging, this has been a successful strategy for us. As a result the holiday season is less stressful for everyone involved, and we spend more time focused on family, friends, and food. The holiday trifecta!
For my tastes, Christmas today has become too intertwined with consumerism. I have always wondered how the advertisements that come out around the holiday season make less-privileged children feel. The one where Mom opens the closet, and is buried under a mountain of gifts (Canadian Tire) particularly sticks in my mind. This is not anywhere close to reality for the vast majority of people.
But last night, B. and I stepped out for a quick run to the giant box bookstore, Chapter’s. We stopped at Starbucks, I picked up a chestnut praline latte and we went our separate ways, absorbed book hunters. And so there I was. Standing in Chapter’s with my grande fancy-pants latte, hunting through the Black Friday stacks for a good deal, and humming Christmas music. And you know, I felt like I belonged. And I enjoyed it.