For most of America, the day after Thanksgiving will be spent trying to get the most for the least amount of money. The winner will be the person who can grab the most toys, clothes, gadgets and doo-dads for the people on their list. Whether they need them or not.
Now, hear me well: there is nothing wrong with being a wise shopper and looking for the best deal on something that you know you want or something that someone you love wants, and you want to give it to them.
But what if you want to start building different values into your family taking back Black Friday is a great way – and day – to start.
As someone who has been in the position of being an unemployed single mom, I remember all too well having to rely on other people to make the holidays happen for my kids. I remember desperately wanting to get my kids certain toys, or a shirt that I knew my daughter would love, and not being able to because of my lack of funds.
The highlight of my Christmas that year (besides seeing how other people stepped in to love on my kids, and myself) was the absolute thrill of finding some gently used items for my kiddos at Goodwill. I was able to get a little creative with a couple of finds at the local thrift store; there was the like-new art kit for my daughter, and an un-opened pack of Yu-gi-oh cards for my son (at the time, that was the score of all scores.) I found a couple of books from the series they were reading, and even a really cute top that I was able to wear to some Christmas parties.
As much as I want to make Jesus the center of everything I do during the holidays, I long in my mommy heart to bless my kids in a way that will demonstrate that I care about the unique, wonderful people they are. And sometimes, that means Legos or a tube of lip gloss.
Sadly, a lot of the time, donation centers are used instead of a recycling can – they receive so much unusable clothing (which, I do understand, that some centers can sell by the pound to recover some of the money for processing those items. Check with your donation center to see if they welcome this type of donation before making it.) Some of us wait until an item is unusable, undesirable, unfashionable and just plain unworthy until we are willing to get rid of it.
But what about donating those new red kitten heels that you wore once and never wore again because they pinched your feet. Instead of holding onto them for years, (because they cost so much money!) how about donating them and letting a mom with a limited budget feel pretty in those shoes.
Or how about the Barbie that your daughter had-to-have, but then lost interest in about twelve days after her birthday. If she no longer loves it, ask her to donate it so that some other little girl will have the chance to love it.
Or that second (or third) garlic press? Give another woman the chance to create Christmas dinner she wants by making her mom’s homemade marinara sauce (complete with freshly crushed garlic.)
What if we spent the day clearing out our homes in preparation of the abundance that’s about to hit in the next month instead of fighting crowds to get the best barging to fill up our home.
What if we taught our kids that there is even more joy in passing on things that others will love than owning everything and enjoying nothing?
What if winning was giving everything away until everything in your home was something you use, love, or would buy again.
What if the highlight of your Black Friday was donating clothes, tools, toys and books that others could love (and even wrap up for their own kids and families to put under the tree?)
What if Black Friday was marked, not by how much we buy, but how much we give?
Black Friday is November 27th this year. Would you consider joining me in figuring out how you can bless other families that will struggle to get something under the tree this year?
I can’t tell you how much this idea excites me: the thought of some of you, leading your families in the charge not only to declutter, but to give instead of focusing on all you can get? It just gives me shivers.
Here’s what you can do:
- Grab some extra boxes (or for clothes and toys, garbage bags). If you don’t have extra boxes piled up, just waiting for disposal, find a friend who shops with Amazon Pantry. I promise, they will have all the boxes you need.
- With the others you live with, come up with a goal. Let me be so bold as to challenge you: could you come up with 100 items to donate? 100 is doable, but will still challenge you and your loved ones to stretch. Set your goal and then work towards it together.
- Come up with a plan of action. When decluttering, it’s always great to pair a kid with an adult. When the adult is decluttering their area, the child can be the runner – putting things away, putting items into the donation box, etc. When decluttering the child’s area, the parent can be there to encourage the child to get rid of things they no longer love and use, but also can help with some wise decisions when a child is becoming a little too good at decluttering (like wanting to give away Aunt Edna’s antique quilt…)
Some things to consider giving away. No longer loved:
- Camping equipment
- Christmas decorations
So, are you in? Tell me what you think about the challenge and invite others to join in. Remember to let let me know what you did and how it blessed you and your family at firstname.lastname@example.org or at my Facebook page.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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