Last year, Americans spent a record $5 billion on Black Friday. This is a staggering amount. Most of these
purchases were for Christmas gifts. Some of these purchases were for personal use. Some of these purchases were
made for items that weren’t even wanted by the person buying them or for a gift. The deal was just too good to
pass up, so a purchase was made. We live in a material culture. Black Friday has become a phenomenon and it’s
now creeping into Thanksgiving Day as several retailers now open their doors on Thursday afternoon or evening,
so their customers can get a jump on their Black Friday shopping.
I’m not an opponent of Black Friday. If shopping for great deals on this day and braving the crowds and traffic is
your thing then shop away! For me, I honor Black Friday with a cup of black coffee, the black words on the page of
a book I am reading and the black of my eyelids as I take a post-Thanksgiving nap. I’m more concerned about the
pressure we put on ourselves to find the “perfect gift” for our loved ones. I’ve seen too much stress and strain rob
us of our Holiday and Christian joy as we fret and worry about who is getting what for Christmas and what it’s all
going to cost us. Such worry and stress are bad for the soul and can remove the joy, peace and love that should be
prevalent during this season of giving and enjoying the presence of family and friends.
What if we reconsider the gifts we give and the stress that accompanies them? What would happen if we scaled
back our Christmas purchases to just a few items and instead opted to give the following gifts instead?
*Give the gift of a “family night” to your family. All cell phones and electronic gadgets are stowed away in a box
and you enjoy eating a meal together, sharing stories and memories and playing a favorite (non-electronic) family
*Give each of your children the gift of some “one on one” time. Coordinate with your spouse and/or family and
take a concentrated couple of hours and focus entirely upon one child at a time. Take them to their favorite
restaurant, engage in their favorite activity, and reconnect with them. They will be blessed and so will you.
*Give the gift of a phone call to a friend or family member who you have not spoken to in far too long. It’s amazing
how the busyness of life causes us to disconnect from those we once held dear. Invest your time in a phone call to
catch up, reconnect and share a few moments with someone you love.
*Give the gift of a date night to your spouse. Line up babysitters for the kids (if needed) and go spend some time
with your husband or wife. Go to a favorite restaurant. Go sit in a coffee shop and talk. Go for a drive in the
country and talk while viewing the beauty that surrounds you. (You can be really ambitious and plan an overnight
stay at a hotel or bed and breakfast!) Invest in your marriage. Remind each other why you fell in love in the first
place. Recommit to the one you have pledged your heart to.
*Give the gift of serving someone. You can do this with your family or this can be an individual experience. Find
someone who has a need that you can meet and go serve them. Whether it’s yard work, taking them to a store or
doctor, or just talking with them and breaking up the lonely times they experience, you will be a blessing to them
and experience the blessing service always brings.
I hope you enjoy your gift giving this year. I look forward to sharing our first holiday season at Fairlane together.