Bremerton Patriot


Therapy for too much retail

By COLLEEN SMIDT Bremerton Patriot Columnist
November 9, 2013 · Updated 11:45 AM

Am I the only one who feels assaulted by the retail “holiday” spirit this year?

That the sight of all things Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s front and center in stores before Halloween is even over comes off as nothing more than the worst of retail desperation?

That retail stores opening their doors for business on Thanksgiving Day itself is only lowering the bar even further?

I enjoy the holiday season very much. We have so much fun decorating up the house, cooking those special seasonal dishes and enjoying the laughter and joy of being with friends and family.

Those of you who follow my column will remember that this time last year, our family decided to implement a policy of “experiences instead of stuff.”  No more big ticket commercial items that we really did not need. No more mall to mall shopping weekends buying items for other people who really did not need or want them either.

One of our first adventures under this new way of holiday spending and thinking was a family trip to Hawaii.

We flew out of Seattle on Thanksgiving Day last year and our version of Black Friday shopping consisted of wandering along Front Street in Lahiana looking for that coveted refrigerator magnet to remember the trip by or that tacky tropical shirt for the upcoming luau on Saturday.

The experience of watching the sunrise over Haleakala is something that purchasing “things” can never replace for any of us. The area under our tree on Christmas Day was rather bare, but our hearts and minds were content and full from our experience.

For the remainder of the year we celebrated special occasions with experiences. Instead of buying electronics, video games or toys for his birthday, Nick received a round trip ticket to visit his grandparents in Georgia for his summer break from school.

Instead of expensive dinners and entertainments for his birthday and our anniversary, Jason took a week-long road trip to Lake Tahoe on his Metal Mistress with a group of his motorcycle riding friends.

Along the way we have also bestowed experiences instead of stuff on other friends and family members around us. We have been encouraging them to abandon any urge they have to continue to make purchases on our behalf and instead simply provide us with an experience big or small.

Think about all the stuff you are looking to buy this year. Think about how much of that could translate into experiences over the next year instead.

Also think about giving what you can to those in your community who are going to need some assistance this holiday season. This year I plan to contribute more than I ever have in a variety of ways.

I always recommend the Bremerton Foodline for cash and food contributions. What is donated by our community stays in our community.

Give a better holiday experience to those in need. Plan ahead and add some items or a cash donation to your holiday shopping list for the Foodline as well: www.bremertonfoodline.org.

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