Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Impending National...Holiday!

Hello friends. It is a rainy Tuesday before Thanksgiving and we are probably all thinking about how many outfits we need to bring to our parents, and whether it is better to wear the red sweater to dinner or the blue one. Well, at least that is what I am thinking about.

So, is everyone getting ready for Capitalism's biggest holiday? Black Friday?

All the newscasters can talk about is what will happen on Black Friday? Will the fate of the American economy be determined Friday? Will the shopper see his shadow or will we have six more months of recession? Wait, oh, that's a different holiday.

I propose we change our national flag to the following:


This is a screenshot from BlackFriday.info, a website created to track all the hot deals you can get on Black Friday. It's creator also has a website called KeepCash.com with all kinds of hot deals. A tandem bike for $230! Matrix sunglasses for $43!

I remember Black Friday from my retail days, and it is busy. The irony is, of course, that Black Friday is the busiest day in terms of shoppers, but it ranks only fifth to tenth for all over sales (according to Wikipedia). So, why bother when you can shop on Cyber Monday?

What is Cyber Monday, you ask? Well Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday, which marks the beginning of the online Christmas Shopping season. Oh boy, can you blame the Christians for trying to remind us of the reason for the season?

I would urge you to research the companies you are getting these hot deals from. How are their employees treated? Do they support politics that you disagree with? I tend to check in with a quick google search about a company before I buy. The Ethical Shopper is a good place to research the stuff you want to buy. Being Thrifty is a mindset. It's not just about saving money. It's about not participating in the hamster wheel of life. The grave cycle of violence.

My family--and it is a huge family--has done away with the gift exchange, and instead we will be giving donations in each others names to our favorite charities. Hopefully we can get beyond politics this year, and give to causes we can all get behind. If you have lots of cousins, and not loads of cash, give it a shot.

And if you are looking for some ethical shopping to do this weekend, have I got the lead for you (special thanks to Serena for giving me the hint on this one):

Housing Works is hosting what they are calling a White Saturday on Saturday November 29th. They will serve free cookies and hot chocolate, and they promise no jingles. They have saved up some goodies for this shopping day and they promise unbelievable finds. Does this mean I can shop and not hear Mariah Carey sing "All I Want for Christmas is You"? Does this mean I can spend money and still give to a good cause (Housing Works profits go to helping the homeless who are living with HIV and AIDS)? It's a day in heaven for this thrifty socially conscious gal. Hope it is for you, too! I'll be stopping by their Brooklyn Heights location, but there are many options.

While you're on their website, check out the cafe events. Cheap to free they have a killer line up coming up. Special note: Jeffrey Renard and Mary Gaitskill will read on December 2. That should be an excellent time.

Also December 1st is World AIDS Day, and Brooklyn Industries and Housing Works have teamed up to release a T-shirt on that day. You can get the t-shirt at any Housing Works or Brooklyn Industries store, and the proceeds will help the homeless living with AIDS/HIV.

Please note: if you buy the t-shirt from Housing Works, 100% of the profits go to Housing Works. If you buy it from Brooklyn Industries, 10% goes to Housing Works. Just think about it. I love Brooklyn Industries. Shop there, please. Just maybe buy this t-shirt from Housing Works, then go to Brooklyn Industries and get yourself a rad sweatshirt with some camo patches to reward yourself. You've done a good thing.

On a final note, I signed up for a free Bumble and Bumble haircut. They will get back to me to let me know if I qualify. Keep your fingers crossed for me. There will be before and after pictures...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know there are some sad, sad stories about this holiday, and people are still suffering all over the world. But, enjoy the turkey or the tofurkey, and please thank god for the roof over your head, the food on the table and the promise of yet another day to try and get it right.

And hopefully, your thanksgiving won't look like this:

(Warning: a little foul--not fowl--language is involved. Don't watch this in front of babies.)

Home For the Holidays



Ultrapinque said...

Hi Christine --

I know this is late, but i'd like to ask your secrets on how you convinced your family to forgo the massive buying frenzy this time of year . . . my husband and i want to try something like this also, but a few tentative suggestions led to gasps, outrage, dismay . . . help!

I love your blog, just recently found it!

Christine Rath said...

Ultrapinque, sorry to be so long in getting back to you. I have been trolling the internet for cheap car rentals--clue: there are none, especially for christmas (oops should have planned ahead). Actually, it took no convincing from me, because most of my family is as broke as me. I was brought up in a large Irish Catholic family (coupon clipping and thrift stores) so we just naturally gravitate toward not spending a ton of cash. That being said, you can approach your family in a few different ways.

The best is to try not to sound defensive or whiny as this can encourage the "I am more broke than you" game, in which family members trade stories of how much harder life is for them than anyone else. Avoid this trap at all costs.

What you might try is talking about how grateful you feel for your family and the time you will spend together and that when you see that in contrast to the rest of the world, you really don't feel like you need all those things, just some good quality time with them. Helps if you mean this too.

People resist. The spending frenzy has had a strong grasp on our country for a long time. If your family is Christian (I am not particularly so, though do like some of the ideals especially this one), you can always point to Jesus over turning the market outside the temple. The whole point is to live modestly, and creatively and resisting the hype. I don't mind if people can afford a lot and want to give a lot, but it stinks when people who can't afford a lot are forced into giving a lot and end up putting themselves in debt; debt for which there is no governmental bail out plan. All best, Christine