Black Friday

I have been totally distracted over the last week. I guess you could call it my pre-Christmas overload. I had believed I had learned from my previous Christmas mistakes of leaving things to the last minute and getting stressed and burned out by Christmas Day. I had vowed to start getting myself organised around Halloween in order to take it all in my stride. But instead I got completely sidetracked by the new phenomenon of ‘Black Friday’.

At first Black Friday was all about the great gifts I would buy for others. It was the last week of November and I felt a sudden panic that it was nearly a month after Halloween, and I still hadn’t started my Christmas preparations. I also feared I was going to miss my window of opportunity to ‘bag’ a great deal.

By Tuesday of last week it seemed that there were so many bargains that I couldn’t keep up. I started to write down all that we might need so that we wouldn’t miss out on the ‘bargain of a lifetime.’ From 15% off here, to 20% off there, and up to 50% off high price items, I was like a kid in a sweet shop. My head was awash with products that I wanted, needed, or might want or might need, and of cause not forgetting the Christmas gifts that I could buy for all those friends and relatives. It was in hindsight totally addictive.

I spent hours on the internet searching various high street department stores, designer brands, and my favourite online only stores. From homeware, makeup, to kids clothing, I had to cover all my bases. Finally on the Saturday night the high of my Black Friday madness started to fade and I started to come down. I began to get annoyed with my husband, frustrated he was not getting on board with the Black Friday fever. I’d started bombarding him with questions “Peter, what clothes do you need at the moment? Peter what you need is some… or Peter have you ordered anything yet?” My frustration was with his lack of motivation and urgency.

By Sunday I was totally washed out and with little to show for all my efforts. Mostly the hype was ‘to good to be true’ and there was nothing that was the ‘deal of the year’.

Finally I said to myself ‘never again will I be suckered into this sickening mass-consumerism’ and today I woke up thinking; ‘Yes it is over!’. But no: I awoke to the news that it was now ‘Cyber Monday’ and I spent the day holding myself back from searching out for the last final offers of this exhausting and endless retail sales marathon.

By 8pm the emails were still rolling in, with retailers trying to entice me with headers such as ‘Tick tock. Have you seen our cyber savings?’

I felt that it had to be the end of the last offers. The onslaught of advertising had to end today. But we shall see what tomorrow brings.

I never used to be this way, I used to hate sales. I think it could be since having the large expense of kids that has changed my ways. Or maybe I have inherited this habit from my Mum, she loves sales and rummaging about for deals. I go in her house and she has mountains of products that were 3 for 2 and wardrobes filled with bargains that she has never worn. I never wanted to be that person. I want quality over quantity, and to buy only things I truly love. But I also know that I do not want to be paying over the odds for something. I now just can’t purchase anything without googling for voucher codes. I suppose it is just getting the right balance.

Prior to the onslaught of emails and TV radio and banner adds I had been looking forward to organising a new tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in my household and teaching the children about gratitude.  In fact, I had begun to prepare a blog post telling you about my ideas and enthusiasm to adopt Thanksgiving for the values it could instil before Christmas. Unfortunately my plans got overridden by various household duties, unwell children and the biggest distraction of all “BLACK FRIDAY.”

Please return here next year and I promise you I will have my priorities straight.

 

A spider-like resilience

Spider

My fascination with spiders came a few years ago when each morning I would get up and see a spider had built an amazing web that sparked in the hallway window. When it rained it sheltered by the side and we could see it so close up we felt as if it were our own pet. We watched as it caught flies and bees and resisted all weathers. It seemed it would be there forever; I never really thought about how long it would live, it just became part of the family. But, one week I realised it was gone. I wasn’t sure how long it had been missing but the delicate bits of broken and fuzzy web looked like it had been unused for a long time. It was that day I felt saddened by this significant, but tiny loss.

This time of year is spider season, every morning the garden is lit up by the beauty of sparkly spiderwebs covered in dew. As soon as they dry out the webs become invisible and the whole family have experienced being tangled up in the midst the sticky and tickly web strands. A few years ago I would have been irritated by the amount of spider webs I had to battle through to get into my garden, but since I have had children my attitude to spiders and creepy crawlies have completely changed. I am more tolerant of these creatures as I try to instil a level of compassion as a value to my children.

My neighbour mentioned she hadn’t gone out in her garden much as she was petrified of spiders.
“Ooh no, I can’t bear them!” she said, “… awful things.” It turns out that both her husband and herself are scared of spiders, so it meant her two year old was unable to go outside to play on her trampoline. I told her that I got my two children to go out with a duster and taught them to be kind and brave when it came to walking through a spider web or getting tangled up in one. I wondered then what we can learn about resilience from spiders for ourselves and for our children.

Being curious I Googled spiders and resilience and I found one school, Cottingley Village Primary school in West Yorkshire had used the song Incy Wincy spider to represent resilience for their Early Years nursery and reception children. Through the song they focus on c as their Learning Power Capacity. They said, “The children know that:- We can learn by not giving up even when we find things hard. We should keep trying!”

Every day spiders get up and even when someone destroys their home they jump down and within an hour have rebuilt their home, with no fuss, just pure resilience. I have come to truly admire them, firstly for their creativity, the architecture of the webs are so complex. I wonder how they begin and where they end. But the thing I admire most is how they deal with their daily setbacks, their stamina and perseverance. They are just so resilient.