Black Friday: Sales Shopping with a Side of Gratitude


For many families, the unofficial start to the holiday season begins the day after Halloween. We put away the spooky decorations and put up displays for Thanksgiving featuring turkeys, pumpkins, and “be thankful, be grateful” throw pillows and decorative dinner plates. And then, as soon as the last bite of pumpkin pie is eaten on Thanksgiving Day, many Americans instantly head out from their day of thanks to claw at the best deals at the mall.

For our children, this time of year can be an overwhelming and never-ending spree of fun-filled events overflowing with candy, feasts, and presents. I find myself pondering what does this annual American tradition teach our children?

In these busy weeks, it’s more important than ever to remember ourselves as parents how to model feelings of gratitude for our children. I want to set a good example about consumerism for my children to learn. I’m mindful that it’s OK to buy new things on Black Friday, especially if I’m able to get a great deal on a gift for a loved one, but I also want to find the right balance.

By instituting these four values, I strive to teach my children our family values during the holiday season. It’s a reminder that when consumerism can seem irresistible, it shouldn’t distract us from the holiday’s greater meaning of family, thankfulness, and love.

Donate items to organizations in need

When I find a great deal during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any other big sale event, I like to evaluate what I can donate. Clothes, electronics, and toys are all items that we can get on discounted prices, but they are also items that women’s shelters desperately need. Making a few bucks off an online sale sounds appealing, but if I can afford to buy something new, then I can afford to donate what I already own.

Black Friday isn’t always necessary

There is a balance with Black Friday and finding deals on recycled items. Super sales aren’t always worth their hype. Consignment shops and buy-sell-trade online are full of hidden treasures at lower prices than buying new. Plus, purchasing recycled items from within our community has much less of an environmental impact than buying new in stores or online. Teaching proper care of our earth is an important family value, and by hunting through consignment stores, I can teach my children that new doesn’t always mean better.

Consistency models important behaviors for our children

Gratitude isn’t something that can just be taught in a single holiday season or through volunteering one time. It takes commitment and consistency to model these behaviors, so that my children can see what giving back looks like. There are many reasons to donate time and money, but simply put, pitching in to help others is the right thing to do. Immersing ourselves into our community through volunteering is part of our obligation to help our neighbors. Small acts such as shoveling the snow off the driveway for the single mom next door are just as important as spending hours at a food bank or donating to a toy drive.

Talk about the holidays without mentioning gifts

Thanksgiving and the holiday season are intrinsically a time to be grateful for our many blessings; after all, we are giving thanks. Without mentioning Santa or presents, asking our children what they love most about the holidays can be a fun brainstorming time as a family. Maybe one kid loves baking cookies together on Christmas Eve and giving them out to our neighbors. Together we discuss the principles that are most important to us and how we can help each other without always by giving a present.

This time of year, it is so easy to be non-stop, always going from one event to the next and forgetting to take in the simple family moments and traditions we treasure most. I want to instill these values in my children and participating in acts of kindness, gratitude, and love are the best ways to raise a grateful kid.

How do you show your children what this time of year is all about? 


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