Give to Freedom

Image: Woman in chains

This time of year is very challenging for me. There are things about the holiday season that I truly enjoy and others that make me very uncomfortable. I love the fun times with food and family.  But I can’t help think about the excessive consumerism and the less fortunate.

Black Thursday?

This week I watched an interesting interview on one of the morning news shows. They interviewed three business leaders about the decision retailers made to start Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving.

Two of the business leaders felt the decision was unwarranted and distracted from the holiday. While the other insisted that retailers were only fulfilling a demand. His theory–retailers wouldn’t do it if consumers didn’t want it.

As a career marketer, I tend to agree with the first two. Retailers know consumers have a limited amount of resources and each want to be first with their hand in your pocket. So every year Christmas sales have inched closer to Thanksgiving until now they’ve eclipsed it. Many stores stocked Christmas before Halloween this year!

Steve Jobs said, “It’s not the  customers job to know what they want.” He built an entire company around creating needs, not products. Companies around the world are all telling us what we need. We’re bombarded with over 2,000 marketing messages a day. It’s easy to get caught up in the buying frenzy.

To get us to buy more retailers create feelings of inadequacy.

  • Those high energy lights will never do. You need LEDs.
  • Why decorate your own tree? Get a pre-lit one.
  • Who wants a 32″ TV when you can get a 40″?
  • Those colors are so 2011, you need 2012 colors.

But do we really need more stuff?

Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.- Luke 12:14b

Right now there are young girls, not even teenagers, all over Asia that are being held hostage in brothels and forced to service 10-20 men a day. But we’re concerned about whether or not the yard Santa is inflating properly.

Something is wrong with this picture.

I’m not trying to deflate your Christmas spirit or steal your holiday joy, but a spoonful of perspective is healthy during this frenzied buying season.

Remember, you decide what you buy. And  how you spend is a good indication of what you value. So before you buy that 60″ TV take a deep breath, maybe even sleep on it. With that same money you could save a life…or two or three. Then you can sit back and enjoy that 40″ TV a little longer  knowing that you changed someone’s life forever.

Quick facts on human trafficking

It’s  estimated there are 27 million slaves in the world. That’s more than the population of any single state in the U.S. with the exception of California. Of those 27 million, 80% are sex slaves. Remarkably, the average cost of a slave is only $90! These are human lives valued less than the price of a Kuerig coffeemaker, a Kindle Fire or an iPad.

As you make your Christmas list, consider donating to an organization that fights human trafficking.

Do your part to rescue someone from a life, and probably death, of slavery. Check out these organizations.


Image: ro_chelle


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Robert is the founder of | Mediocrity-Free Living. He is passionate about helping people discover the rewards of daily giving.

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