Editorial: Time for a time out

Welcome to The Spotlight’s Unique Holiday Gift Ideas edition. You’ll find this week’s paper chock full of holiday-themed stories, many of them accompanied by some local gift ideas for those on your list.

Last week, with Black Friday approaching, we asked our readers to consider our local businesses here in the Capital District this holiday season. Now would be an opportune time to renew that request, as this past weekend’s retail numbers busted past history in nearly every metric, from dollars spent to numbers of shoppers to — most controversially — the number of hours stores were actually open. It appears America is quite shopping happy this year, for good or ill.

We were struck by an Associated Press article appearing over the Thanksgiving weekend entitled “Why must we buy? Black Friday’s powerful pull.” It included quotes from shoppers who hit the stores Thanksgiving evening, including this gem from one Ebony Jones, who was securing laptops for her children at a Best Buy near Pittsburgh.

“You have to have these things to enjoy your children and your family,” she was reported saying. “It shouldn’t be that way, but in a sense there’s no way around it. Everything ends up with a dollar amount. Even your happiness.”

What a truly depressing sentiment expressed on the very day supposedly reserved for giving thanks for the things one has, not the things one pursues. It is depressing not because it is a sad way of thinking, but because we know, deep down, that in so many instances it is the stark and honest truth.

Whether it is a new social norm or a synthetic frenzy whipped up by retailers, it is undeniable the holiday season is now defined by stuff.

We of course all want to provide our loved ones with the best we can give, especially when it comes to our children. But the holidays are about more than gift giving; they are about experiences.

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