Well, I was out of the house for almost the entire day yesterday, and I didn’t have my friend’s CLIÃ to write from, so I was in between a rock and a hard place as far as making a blog entry was concerned. Hopefully two entries today will make up for it.
Yesterday was the day after Thanksgiving. For American consumers, that’s a holiday in and of itself, because it means one thing: bargains! Or at least we think it means bargains. Neither Steph nor I had previously gone shopping on the Shoppingest Day of the Year, so we decided to give it a shot and see what it was all about.
The first thing we learned is that if you can take public transportation to get there, do it. Getting to the mall took us at least two or three times longer than it would on any other normal day. Off-ramps from the highway were backed up at least half a mile into the highway itself. We went a roundabout way in hopes of saving time, and we might have saved a little, but not much. Once we got to the actual mall, the parking lots were blocked off here and there with orange cones, police were directing traffic, and it was chaos. They should have had a gigantic glowing neon sign that hung over the entire mall that said, “No parking here. Forget about it,” so everyone knew what they were getting into before they arrived. We parked a couple blocks away in a residential area (not a unique idea, judging by the number of cars parked in the otherwise-quiet neighborhood) and walked in.
Inside the mall it was equally as chaotic as it was outside. Everywhere you went, you were surrounded by the sound of people walking and talking and laughing. The sound of bags crinkling against other bags. The sound of cash registers. Honestly though, it wasn’t all that noticeable until you exited the mall again. Walking back to the car along a busy street (a busy street) I actually remarked, “Wow, it’s quiet out here.” That made me realize how loud it had been in the mall.
We got some good bargains at The Gap, and I got Steph’s gift for Christmas, so all went well in that regard. It seemed that nearly every store had a special deal going on, but I’m not sure the deal was exclusive to that particular day. I think most stores had deals that went at least to the 1st of December, so I’m not sure that there really was an advantage of going there on that particular day. But it was an experience.
Warning: I’m about to sound a lot like Kevin. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 🙂
I think that the consumerism of America poses some problems. My dad and I were talking last week, and he mentioned a passage in Revelations 18 that reminds me all too much of America. The verses after the ones I’m quoting are also interesting, but they are another discussion altogether. Revelations 18:1 – 3 say this:
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. With a mighty voice he shouted:
“Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!
She has become a home for demons
and a haunt for every evil spirit,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.
For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
Honestly, if that’s not America, I don’t know what is. We are the only nation on Earth that could so effectively spend an entire day being thankful for what we have, and counting our blessings, and then go out the very next day and spend huge amounts of money because we simply don’t have enough. And I’m a part of that. And so are you.
Here’s where it becomes a sticky wicket. I’m often tempted to tell people not to celebrate Christmas. Not the people who believe it Christ. Obviously Christmas is nothing of not the celebration of the birth of Jesus. But the people who would answer “What is Christmas?” with something like, “It’s a time when we can get together and be thankful for our friends and family, and remember that it’s important to love one another.” I’m sorry, but that is not at all what Christmas is about. If you want a holiday for that, make a Thanksgiving II and be done with it. But don’t taint and water down my savior’s birthday.
PS> We’re keeping the Christmas tree. Those things are so cool!