Holiday Commercialization, Gift Giving and Shopping Addictions

It is Black Friday, no longer the beginning of the wild craze of the shopping season because the sales started weeks ago, but rather the pinnacle or culmination of all American holiday season commercialization. We are fat off turkey, feeling generous and opening our wallets both in stores and online.

There is no doubt that Christmas has been commercialized - as have all holidays - and the insanity of it can be exciting or overwhelming depending on your outlook. I think it is an unfair burden we place on ourselves when we buy gifts at the expense of increasing our debt burden, in the end that isn't very helpful to anyone. And while I celebrate the spiritual significance of this season, I don't really object to the shopping sprees either, so long as they are financially sound.

I love giving gifts. Giving is not the language of love I most like to be spoken to me, but it is my favorite way to speak love. I love to give, and I love to find surprising and creative ways to show thoughtfulness.

I found a great quote by Maya Angelou that says, "I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." I love this. I find tremendous joy in giving gifts for any occasion, or no occasion. I love to surprise people!

Gift giving at Christmas is symbolic in several ways. It mimics the wise men giving gifts to the infant Jesus after they found Him. It also depicts the love God has for us by giving us His Son. Giving is a demonstration of love and a joyful practice!

On the other hand, shopping is an addiction. We go overboard. Would I love to get my husband everything he has ever desired? Yes. But I don't suppose he'd appreciate it much if I depleted our savings or drove us into debt to do so.

I am rarely an emotional eater, but since I got my first job at 14, I have found that I am an emotional shopper. If I am sad, stressed, delighted, feeling celebratory, lonely or just content, I can easily be persuaded into buying for others or for myself.

When way back in the old days my husband - who was my boyfriend at the time - broke up with me, I went on a spending spree. I bought tons of CDs and new clothes.

During times of celebration, such as finishing my degrees, getting promotions and so on I have gladly treated myself. And just recently, seeing significant fitness progress, I made a large and expensive upgrade to some of my home gym equipment.

I think of myself as a fairly disciplined person but it's easy to see how one can fall down the slippery slope into a shopping addiction!

So as we work out way through the holiday shopping season I will attempt to do so with moderation. My Christmas shopping has been done for a couple weeks, and so I will attempt to be content to wait for Christmas to give and share, and try to avoid every well placed ad that calls my name!