Well, it's official. I've just received my first email promoting the upcoming Black Friday sales week. It's the first of dozens, I'm sure.
And it got me thinking about what colour a person's Christmas will be based on how they react to the call of Black Friday sales. I find the behaviour during this particular weekend to be rather telling.
A Red Christmas
A red Christmas will be filled with passionate & impulsive purchases. You may get upset about missing a deal because the store ran out of the door crasher you wanted & you may buy more gifts than you intended to buy because your got caught up in the feeling of the season, just the way retailers hope you will. Gifts make people happy and you want those closest to you to have the best Christmas possible, right?
The season will leave you exhausted, in the red, and upset with yourself because you have to dig yourself out of a hole. You might even be looking forward to your tax return to get you back in the green sooner than later, ensuring you can repeat the cycle the following year.
An Orange Christmas
An orange Christmas is one of glamour & status. You're always looking to jump onto the latest fad or fashion. You're unsure you really have the latest and greatest, so you buy more variety or multiples of given items to ensure you have just the right one. You try to fill an emotional void with meaningless stuff that makes you feel good, at least in the moment. You'll be sure to show off the newest acquisitions and quick to judge those who haven't followed suit.
Once Christmas is over, you find yourself with with less room in your closet/kitchen/living room and with more room in your wallet. Much of what you'll have purchased to make Christmas just right for your family this year will be replaced with the latest and greatest again next year.
A Yellow Christmas
A yellow Christmas means you can't wait to get the best deal. You don't mind spending money, as long as you can boast about how much you saved, regardless of whether you need it or not. Your gift giving has more to do with how much you can buy for how little than whether your friends and family will want or use what you give them. You also don't tend to return items when you realize it was a poor purchase because it was a good deal...wasn't it? Not to mention you can't deal with the embarrassment and hassle of dealing with returns. I mean who can, really?
After Christmas, you don't feel much of anything other than regret and emptiness, despite not having busted the bank. Somehow, the thrill of the deal chasing wasn't all it was cracked up to be and deep down, you know that what you bought didn't really matter for the most part and much of it will end up in the attic or on some shelves in the garage, just in case you can use it at some point.
A Green Christmas
A green Christmas is a "warm & fuzzy" Christmas. It's a Christmas of full bellies and full hearts. Your focus is on what you and your loved ones need, not want, and your minimal gift giving is truly from the heart as you offer those around you good food, good times and, most of all, great memories. You may have been planning your holiday time for weeks or even months, knowing that it's thoughtfulness and gratitude that matters most during this time of year. Your Holiday Season may be filled with the traditional fare (turkey, stuffing, pie and/or whatever your traditions may call for), activities (ice skating & hockey, songs by the fireplace, evening drives to see the Christmas lights, trimming the Christmas tree, Midnight Mass & carolling, serving a meal at a local shelter) and traditional feelings of wishing peace and joy to all.
If gift exchanges are part of your traditions, the focus is on knowing the recipient so well that you know just what would be most appreciated by this person, be it a helping hand, a handmade essential or more of what he/she uses most to make their lives just a bit fuller and happier (canvases for the painter, journal for the writer, yarn for the knitter, tool for the handyman, book of hard-to-find old family recipes for the burgeoning cook, a "best of" family photo album for the young adult leaving home). You may have even had these tucked away for some time, having been on the lookout for that perfect item all year.
After Christmas, the glow of the Season is slow to cool. The sweet memories abound and there are no thoughts of the cost of it all because most of it came in the form of thought and effort, not in dollars and cents. Financially, Christmas time is not much different than any other time of year.
A Blue Christmas
A blue Christmas is a comfortable Christmas. It's a Christmas of plenty of what you need and the comfort to know that you didn't go overboard. It's a secure, low key Christmas.
After Christmas, you remember the season with a smile. It was just as good as any other Christmas, no more no less. Fun times were had by all and gift giving was practical and conservative. The bank account is healthy at the start of the New Year and the credit card balances are low.
A Violet/Indigo Christmas
A violet Christmas is a thoughtless Christmas. Money is spent haphazardly, without thought to what will provide the greatest impact. Knee jerk spending is based on immediate emotion and the money quickly runs out, leaving some of the basics unattended to.
After Christmas, the air is thick with regret as you review the ridiculous excesses you have left over and the gaping holes in what you were unable to provide for you and yours. Your pockets are empty and you're left with impractical things that, hopefully, you can donate or use up the following season. Or, at worst, that you have to throw out.
A Black Christmas
A black Christmas is a dark Christmas. You feel resentful, sad or ashamed about not being able to afford anything for those closest to you. These strong feelings leave you feeling empty, worried and anxious, unable to enjoy this important time of year with those you hold dear. Unfortunately, you don't feel that you're "enough".
After Christmas, if you did spend money you didn't have, you feel the burden of owing money you don't know how you'll be able to repay and keep the weighty secret to yourself. If you chose not to spend, you're filled with regret about what the holidays could've been because you couldn't really be there for those you care about most.
Which colour will your Christmas be this year?
I hope some of these descriptions resonated with you and that there are some you'll gravitate to more than others. I've had the chance to experience red, orange, green and blue Christmases. Whatever the colour of your past Christmases, I wish you a blue or, better yet, a very green Christmas this year.
Good luck this Black Friday. If you do shop, may you find what you need and avoid what you don't.
Personally, black isn't my style. This weekend will be spent staying warm and happy, with my wallet safely tucked away in a drawer. Time well spent and money well saved.
To my American friends: I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.