Friday, November 26, 2010

Shopping with Jesus

So my Black Friday rant didn't convince you to sleep in today. It's four in the morning, and you are prepping for the onslaught of shopping. I don't blame you; there are too many good deals to be had. And you go to Mass all the time, so this is not a shopping day of obligation for you like those that worship at the cathedral of stuff. Anyway, priest's wives shouldn't judge. In any case, here's some unsolicited advice for the Friday shopper.
  • Shop with Jesus. Say a prayer before you sip that early morning coffee. Let the other car get in front of you. Don't even try to get a good parking space. Just park as far out as possible and say a decade of the rosary while you walk into the store. Have a smile on your face for everybody because Jesus Christ is by your side, and you are preparing for His birthday.
  • Don't charge anything that can't be paid off before a month passes. Many people are in dire financial situations these past few years. Don't compound the problem (literally) by allowing a balance on your credit card. Be truthful with your family and simplify! Even though it is heart-breaking to see a child go without a toy they wanted, the stress avoided by not carrying a balance is a greater gift to the entire family.
  • Shop with intention. Try to go free trade or homemade as much as possible. For the adults in your life, buy things that don't add to the clutter. If you have no ideas but simply must buy a gift, get a nice candle.
  • Have a list and stick to it. This will lessen the feelings of panic. You have a plan.
  • Focus on the kids. While we don't want our kids to be materialistic, it is fun to get toys and other treasures on such a special day. My kids won't be getting an I-phone like some of their acquaintances. We don't try to keep up with the (credit card dependent) Joneses, but we do make sure the stockings are stuffed with little goodies and there are a few things under the tree- lots of practical things that I have held off buying and some just for fun. Last year, we focused mainly on books- a luxury because we usually either check out at the library or buy used.
  • Next year, turn off the television after August 1st. No more commercials to prep the kids for buying season! We borrow DVDs from the library or Netflix, so our children aren't exposed to commercials at all. Even so, every show is a means to get parents to buy stuff- even commercial-free PBS. If my child wants a toy because they really want it, I will consider getting it. I refuse to buy because an advertisement said that this is the thing to get if you really love your kids. I am stubborn that way.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."     -2 Corinthians 9:7

Lord, I thank You for Your blessings. Whether in plenty or with little, I want to be a cheerful giver. I desire to give from a full heart that serves, no reluctantly or with complaining. I long to see Your money used in ways that will bless others—through my tithing at church, giving to missions, or helping the needy. I choose to give —and I ask You to bless it.  ---from beliefnet

O God, give me the grace to shop wisely so I may purchase eternal happiness for myself and all others in need of love. ---from mamarocks


  1. Great tips! A family I used to know had a great policy- three small gifts per kid- just like Jesus got. I really like this idea.

  2. Monica- you are up REALLY early- must be going shopping...:) (I didn't post the post at 1- I saved it until 1, by the way)

  3. Haha, I slept in but still shopped--ONLINE. DH had been needing new work clothes for some time, and we kept putting it off. The store that fits him best was having a Thanksgiving sale, so I planned to take advantage of it over the weekend. The timing was just perfect, so I couldn't pass it up. He's getting 6 polo shirts and 6 pairs of pants--the polos were buy 1, get 1 free, so we really only paid for 3, and the pants were reduced when you bought 2 or more pairs. Combined with a 10% off coupon and free shipping for orders $150 or more, we ended up getting another shirt for free (the 10% off equaled about the cost of a shirt).

    I will take advantage of these sales, but only for things we need and without charging them to credit cards!

  4. I really like shopping :(
    I was looking for your this moment.
    How was you thanksgiving?

    A huge

  5. Giozi- Shopping can be fun- in the US it's pretty crazy, though. Here's a photo moment:

  6. Since shopping is not one of my favorite things, we chose to stay home today, bake cookies and decorate the house for Christmas. And thanks for leaving me a comment on my blog. The book I wrote about is good, but I'd try to find it in the library first. Hang on to your card!

  7. Eminently sensible advice Preoteasa!!

    Perhaps I would also make a suggestion. For those who have a connexion to a particular ethnic tradition, one could consider giving the gifts on the day within the tradition. For example, the Dutch give children their gifts on St Nicholas' day, in Scandinavia they give on St Lucy's day (13 December), and others give either on Boxing Day (English) or Epiphany.

    A Dutch friend told me the story of St Nicholas' day, as told to children. If I may, I will retell it here (remember the friend is from the Dutch Calvinist tradition).

    St Nicholas, being a Catholic bishop arrives to Holland on a steamship from Spain (where else to Catholic bishops come from?). He rides a white horse accompanied by his Moorish servant Black Peter. Children put out a shoe (or rather a clog, being Dutch) with a carrot in it for the horse. St Nicholas leaves a present in the shoe - or a piece of coal for naughty children.

    The servant Black Peter will also often throw small treats into the children's room.

    This might also give some indication for the gift giving - small but important gifts are best.

    I also agree with you about focusing on the children - adults usually have jobs and can get what they want, whereas children are dependent on the adults around them.

  8. Rather than shutting the TV off on August 1st, consider shutting it off for good. A priest I used to know referred to it as "Satan's Tabernacle" and I have never found a more apt description. We haven't had television in our home for nearly 20 years and our children are better people for it. We have never had to deal with the 'I wants" for every brand-name toy on the market. This year my 7-year-old's "wish list" has has a grand total of 8 items, none of them over $20 and all asked for type (i.e. a baby doll) rather than by brand. On the other hand, I just received the annual "want list" from my nephews who live in a home where the TV is on 24/7. The shortest list has 17 items and none are under $70 each. The best part- they are now asking us to include a gift receipt in case they want to return the gift and get something else. I am apalled! Their family has completely lost sight of the meaning of Christmas and they are creating greedy little consumers in the name of something holy and precious. I am so, so, saddened when I think what those boys are missing and what it has been replaced by. I am even more saddened to realize that they are the norm, not the exception.

  9. Anonymous- yes, television is a very corrupt influence, one has to be careful of any entertainment.

    The family on my side is growing- up to 19 cousins- for the last 4 years, we have done a cousin gift exchange. Each cousin gives and receives from one other cousin- and the dollar amount is limited as well to about $20. If the parents want to go crazy materially, that is their business- but the extended family gives just tokens. I might also do a simple craft with my kids to give to everyone (ornaments, book plates) but we don't go crazy or use credit during this time.

    We all enjoy presents- but we want to make sure the focus is on Christ!

  10. I think Monday (Cyber Monday) is going to be a bigger temptation for me... we talked about going out yesterday but ended up doing some shopping last week instead. Am glad I found your blog btw :-D

  11. "I refuse to buy because an advertisement said that this is the thing to get if you really love your kids. I am stubborn that way."

    My mom was the same way and I inherited it. For now my little ones are too little to submit wish lists and I am grateful I can get them a few things they will enjoy and that it will be more than enough. For me the dreaded part of Christmas (and birthdays) is the deluge of unwanted presents from aunts and uncles and grandparents. Many of them give more to my children than we do and much of it is stuff the children don't need or won't use.

  12. Very nice post, excellent perspective, I think! We just have no money to even "save" money on these big days. I wonder what I would do if we had any; I tend to love a good deal and would probably get sucked in. Right now, I like where we are! Things are quite peaceful and focused on Advent here.

  13. I did a bit of cyber Monday shopping. It's less nuts.

  14. The commercials are the killers. I don't know how many times a day I hear "I SO NEED THAT MOM".

    Stopping by from Wednesday Window



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