Call me scrooge, but...

Maybe I'm just a sap. Or a bitter old lady. But Christmas and Channukah, for me, are about joy and laughter, not getting your toes smashed by some bargain hunting crazed shopper on Black Friday.

Every year, my generous employer gives us the day off after Thanksgiving. And I love it. I sleep in. Leisurely have my coffee, get caught up on the news. And I'll go walking with my Mom, who THANKFULLY is still around to walk with. Then my husband and I will drag out all the holiday decor and get busy. It wasn't always so. For most of our married lives he worked on Black Friday. Up at the crack of dawn and out the door. We usually didn't get started on the holidays until Sunday night, if then.

So this year we make the most of our time. Together. It's no secret I hate shopping at malls. The only store I love this time of year is Macy's, simply for the nostalgia. But even that won't get me to a mall this weekend. There isn't one thing I need so badly that I would throw away my valuable time with my family to wait in line for. Not one. And it's always been that way.

My kids have never once said "hey...Christmas sucked this year because you didn't buy me that glow in the dark holographic teddy bear!" Because you can make all the excuses you want for shopping on this day, but if you do a little soul searching, you'll see that's all they are. Excuses.

Do you think the Best Christmas Ever means your kids now have the latest and greatest electronics? Or that your new car is better than your neighbors? Do you believe your kids think that way? If you do, then maybe it's time find out. You could ask them if they had a choice, would they rather have everyone home for the holidays under one roof sharing a good meal, or, a new bicycle? You can remind them, and yourself, that for so many kids, the holidays means sitting down to a meal and waiting for mom or dad to call from Afghanistan. Or spending it with only one parent, because they lost the other in a car accident or to cancer. Maybe they don't have a holiday meal at all, because one or both parents lost their jobs and the housing bust meant foreclosure and now they hang on by a thread. Or maybe, just maybe, you don't all share the holidays because all that overtime you spend trying to get enough money for all those things they don't need kept you away.

All I'm trying to say is Holidays are NOT about Black Friday bargains. They're about taking just a moment of your time to give thanks for what you have, and realize that family and friends always trump things. Always. If you waste time worrying about buying everything on the list, you'll miss all the moments that make life worthwhile. So I won't spend the weekend elbowing old ladies at the mall to get my hands on a designer bag I can't afford and don't need.

Instead, I'll get the fire going, make some hot cocoa, watch my husband put up the tree, get the menorah out, watch my husband get out the decorations, read a book, watch sappy movies with my daughter, cry buckets of tears over Hallmark commercials and eat leftovers. And I bet it will be a hell of a lot more fun. And my daughter will remember it long after she's forgotten about this year's gifts.

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