A man asks his wife what she wants for Christmas.
She replies, “Nothing would make me happier than a diamond necklace.”
So, he buys her nothing.
Talk about being cheap.
The husband’s attitude totally misses the commercial point of Black Friday; but I can live with that, especially since the official start to the Christmas shopping spree is a total turn-around on the spirit of yesterday’s holiday. That was Thanksgiving.
Both those events come from the United States. Black Friday being a recently invented retail exercise that has spread around the developed world, and Thanksgiving dating back 400 years to when the states were British colonies.
It was a festive day that was set aside for the settlers to celebrate the good things they had in their lives.
It was also a time for them to thank their Native American friends for all the help and local knowledge they had provided, and to thank God for the year’s harvest.
The USA is in the northern hemisphere where the seasons are opposite to the ones in Botswana, so the crops are already in up there.
I don’t know how many people in Botswana bother to celebrate Thanksgiving on the assigned day, but for those who do, I think it is a shame shopping bargains grab the spotlight the very next day. I think it is unfortunate for everyone else as well.
That’s because I believe the Thanksgiving approach is a better route to go than the gift giving and getting approach that our economy promotes. Hum… that sounds a bit heavy.
Maybe I should try to squeeze in some more humour sometime soon.
Before I do that, though, I’d like to stress that I believe appreciating what we have right now is the key to finding happiness.
Most of us, including me, waste a lot of time trying to acquire things we think will make us happy in the future.
We want to get fit, earn more money, find the perfect mate, buy a bigger home, get out of debt or whatever.
I’m not saying those things are not worth pursuing. Quite often they are. I’m just saying it is a mistake to pin happiness on getting them because that approach makes it very difficult to be happy right now without them.
Also, acquiring things is a habit, so, if we don’t do anything to break it, I think we will just come up with new desires as soon as we satisfy the ones we have now and carry on putting off being satisfied.
The question, of course, is how can we do that?
The best approach may be by replacing it with another habit that allows us to be happy right now, and I think that would be the habit of celebrating Thanksgiving every day of the year.