It started at Thanksgiving time.
It's our 3rd Thanksgiving in Tanzania, and this is the year that it hit me the hardest.
I missed my people. Our people. Back in America. I missed them somethin' fierce.
I didn't want to be in America. Not even a little bit.
For reasons like (and mostly related to) this:
Even before we were full time missionaries we considered ourselves to lean more toward the giving persuasion than the getting persuasion. I don't necessarily know why - it's just always been how we operate. We give more than we get. The holiday season has always been about giving for us, as I know it is for many people around the world.
But then we moved to a developing nation. Perspectives change when you live in a country without a Wal-Mart or a Nordstrom.
And when I'm streaming Pandora and hear these holiday ads all about getting what's yours, or pamper yourself because you deserve it, or for the low, low price of (insert 3 digit number here) you could have (insert stupid thing here)....
I. Just. Can't. Even.
That three digit number for a pair of boots or a new TV is more than most of the people we're surrounded by in this beautiful nation earn in multiple months. And yet, they still give with some of the most humble, hospitable spirits I've ever seen.
I honestly had to limit my internet time over the whole Thanksgiving Shopping HolidayS. Black Friday. (insanity) Small Business Saturday (like the theory of this, but still... ). Cyber Monday. (for the love). Then #givingTuesday. (um, backwards much?)
Sorry, I didn't even know there was such thing as giving Tuesday. Is this new? Have I been away that long that I missed this memo? It really is a great thing, in theory. But why, dear Baby Jesus, why is Giving Tuesday the *last* day of the Shopping Holiday Extravaganza? When everyone has spent every last dime (and many dimes they didn't have via credit cards), and Giving Tuesday has come around - what's left to give? It's almost like (and please excuse my crassness (is that a word? probably not)) - it's almost like Giving Tuesday was created to make all the people that did all the shopping and bought all the things feel better about themselves for popping a $20 donation into some worthy cause.
Not that I don't appreciate that $20 donation - please, donate $20 to our worthy cause, for any reason. :) But - do you see what I mean?
So, when my husband was noticing the fake 5' Christmas tree that resembled a combination of pipe cleaners mixed with chimneysweeps that we could have purchased for the low-low price of $40, then strung with tiny lights that might last one season for only $50, then decorated with ornaments for only $20 and said - "Man, it'd be nice to have the holidays in America."
The first thing that flew out of my mouth without missing a beat was, "No it wouldn't."
He inquired, "What? Why not?"
"Because," I explained, "The consumerism. I'd lose it. I'd go off my rocker. End up on the 5 o'clock news. It would drive me absolutely batty to be surrounded by all that wanting, striving, getting, and keeping-up-with-the-Jonesing."
"Yea. You're right. I'd go nuts. It'd be nice to be with our people, though," he said.
"Totally!" I agreed whole-heartedly. "Now if only they didn't all live in America..."
In related news: Next year - Christmas will be in Tanzania - all of our people (you know who you are) start planning. We'll roast the goat. You bring the marshmallows and chocolate chips. It's guaranteed to be a lazy, slow-going day free of any advertising, shopping and, welp, even TV since we don't have one. And don't worry about bringing the yule log, it's hotter here than the heat any fire provides by 2pm anyway.
This post is not meant to offend anyone living in any country or buying anything I'm completely aware that not everyone is an over-the-top consumer- it's just my personal thoughts & opinion on the matter. And remember: Offense, is a choice. :)