Yes! I am in the retail business and I offer holiday specials and gift sets because who am I to deny my Fancy Friends that want to bless their loved one with the awesomeness of Fancy Free Hair & Skin. I also do a little something special for my Fancy Free team at the end of the year for dealing with my crap over the past 365 days. However, something in my soul doesn't sit right with holiday toy drives. I don't just. I just don't support because it's not in line with what I believe. Now that I've gotten that out of the way.....
I'm just going to jump right in there and state the unpopular truth. Christmas is a holiday that has
been deliberately marketed directly to children with all of the lights, decorations and most importantly....gifts. Once retailers realized how far people were willing to go for their children they increased the marketing appeal to children so that consumers would increase spending at the end of the year and they could potentially make up for revenue losses before the end of the year. with this one holiday. There. I said it. I am a scientist, I have done the research. If you do your research, you will find that all of the data agree with the statement.
|2017 Christmas Eve crab feast. Where is this selfie stick anyway?|
While we are blessed and have abundant resources, there are many who blessed differently and do not have money for extra things, like Christmas gifts. Aside from loved ones not being around for the holiday season, not having money to buy gifts sends a lot of people into depression. Or worse, robbing, stealing and scamming so that they have something to give. I love the giving spirit but I hate that it has this effect on some people. I'd rather people not feel bad for what they don't have. I prefer for people to feel like they can give what they can afford and not out of obligation. Now, on to the receiving part...
If you know me, you know I do not encourage any activity that encourages or reinforces a sense of entitlement. There are no "participation" trophies. You get what you deserve. You earn you keep. You reap what you sow. You do not get an A for just showing up. You get the point. I feel like Christmas encourages a sense of entitlement in children. Most of our children are well behaved and do well in school, so we want to reward them. Why wait until Christmas? Why not do it year round? Because the calendar says buy gifts?
We want kids to feel good about themselves. We don't want them to be sad or traumatized because of a situation they didn't create but have to deal with. We pull together to give to the less fortunate so they will "have something to open" on Christmas morning. Ok. Now what? Does that actually help their circumstances? Some children may learn that there is someone who cares about them. I feel like most are actually learning that they should give gifts because it's a holiday. I feel like we are teaching
|We started with the envelope system.|
It worked wonders.
When my husband finished residency we were all set to ball out of control. When we were making the most money, we were spending the most, which means we were broke. It wasn't until we sat down and got disciplined about our finances that we were able to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle. We had to set a budget and stick to it. Which meant, no more frivolous spending. We had to tell people no. Most importantly, we had to tell ourselves no. It was hard for our egos because we were the big time doctor and laboratory manager. How is it possible that we can't afford to buy certain things and go certain places? Listen. It happens if you don't get control over your spending habits and establish a healthy relationship with money.
I strongly believe that African-Americans have a hard time establishing generational wealth because we have not established a healthy relationship with money. Our community encourages giving when we don't have it to give and buying when we can't afford. Christmas is no exception. I can't tell you what a relief it was when we stopped buying our loved ones gifts for Christmas. We explained why and our family understood. We still give to our family but when it's in the budget. The gifts are even more appreciated because they come at an unexpected time. We call them "any day gifts". By doing this, we set an example for budgeting and fiscal responsibility. If the hot shot doctor and his wife can say "That's more than we budgeted for." and "We can't afford that right now.", there's no reason that everyone else can't do the same.
Because I don't feel that toy drives and holiday gift donations are in line with my personal views about finance and entitlement, I shy away from them. I do support plenty of charities and non-profits that focus more on experiences than giving material possessions for the sake of giving. Hit me up for the school supplies, field trips, professional attire, book drives, etc. I definitely love the kids. I'm just not buying toys cuz it's Christmas time.
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