Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Thanksgiving Promises

I just discovered 100 Mile Diet website. The goal of Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon, creators of this diet, was to eat foods and beverages produced within a 100 mile radius of their home. Their website has lots of great resources, especially if you're just starting out. I liked their 13 reasons for eating local. I find it exciting that the concept of eating locally keeps popping up in various media. The more voices that talk about living a more earth friendly life, the more likely we are to be heard!!

In non-envrionmentally friendly news, I find it somewhat torturous to listen to radio and tv this time of year. Just reading a newspaper peeves me. Everything this time of year is about consumption. It starts with the inherent gluttony associated with Thanksgiving smattered across sales fliers, pushing everyone into a grocery store frenzy. I defy you to find an empty parking space or a free shopping cart in a grocery store today.

If we stop to breathe and think long enough, we might remember that Thanksgiving is about being thankful. It should be a time for families and friends to gather together and enjoy each other's company, not a time to empty the shelves of the local grocery store.

Tomorrow morning we will be assaulted with advertisements that have become the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Don't misunderstand me, I really enjoy the parade itself. I even like the silly, at times obviously scripted, banter between the hosts. I just can't stand the number of commercials that one must endure during the parade. I can't stand the obnoxious way kids make demands in commercials. I can't stand the fact that we are expected to spend, spend, spend. If you're short on cash, not to worry, those nice folks at visa, mastercard, disover and american express will help you out. Grrr!!!

The other day at school my daughter's teacher announced that it was impossible to be an Amercian and not be in debt. My daughter took exception to that comment and informed the teacher that her parents were not in debt. She told her teacher we didn't have car loans or credit card debt. Her teacher refused to believe her. Leen got indignant and told the teacher all we have is our mortgages. The teacher was gleeful, essentially saying I told you so. Leen was so pissed off.

"So if you were renting you wouldn't be in debt??" she asked me. I told her technically not, but you'll alway need to pay for the place you live in and we're less than 9 years away from owning both houses outright. That doesn't sound like traditional debt to me. She shook her head and said something like, my teacher doesn't believe people like you exist.

The entire holiday season caters to people who don't believe you can be frugal and happy. No wonder Leen's teacher couldn't fathom our lifestyle choices. So.......

I will not go to a grocery store today.

I will not be taken in by the slick commercials that bombard me tomorrow morning.

I will not become inpatient with my children, especially the younger ones, when they begin to get the screaming-I-wants after viewing the parade.

I will not be made to feel guilty about not participating in the "let's get up at 3 am to wait in the parking lot, coupons in hand, until the big box store opens so I can get a great price on ____."

I will make my Thanksgiving meal using foods already in my home, many of which were locally grown.

I will enjoy the company of my family and friends.

I will encourage my family to take holiday buying down a notch.

I will enjoy creating handmade holiday gifts for the people closest to me and I will encourage and help my children to do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!


Krista said...

Good job to Leen for standing her ground!

I wonder if her teachers reaction was her own debt insecurities rearing their ugly head? Nothing like arguing with a teenager to justify your lifestyle. Sheesh!

Happy Thanksgiving!

AnnMarie said...

That'll be my duaghter some day, too. This coming year, we'll be paying off our HEL (taken out only because we were required by law to abate lead paint in our house) and our car loan. We should never need another car loan (can save for it instead). And we hope to pay off the mortgage in under 10 years, too!

Chile said...

I love your promises. I posted my Thanksgiving meal plan this morning and then went shopping for the very few items I had decided to buy. I regret that decision and will not do that next year.

Really looking forward to Buy Nothing Day on Friday!

PS: Come by and check out my recent "Bad for the Economy" post. Your daughter might enjoy the video I linked to about money and debt.

Ruthie said...

YAY! Go Katie!!!

I had to turn off the radio this morning because of this:

::sound of someone sawing wood::

"Well honey, it looks like we have to remove even more limbs from the Christmas tree this year to make room for all the great gifts they have on sale at Walmart!"

Dear lord, I nearly puked!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Tomorrow morning we will be assaulted with advertisements that have become the Macy's Thanksgiving parade"

Ma you kno something i agreed with you about how i stood upp to my teacvher but i dont agree with you on that quote right there...i wait every year for the tahnksgiving day parade that marks the start of the christmas season but i do not get assaulted! lol

<3 leen

ps- and dont make funnof ppl that go to the store for the soon as i have a car i am gonna be one of those ppl...see im frugan i take advantage of good sales =]

Taradactyl in a Modern World said...

hip hip hooray!

Anonymous said...

Kate don't forget that the macy's parade itself is a group of commercials -- for the latest broadway shows, the latest albums out, the newest movies and balloons imploring you to watch thier kids shows. Not that it isn't entertaining but the ulterior motive for profit seems to be ever-present.

Ruthie said...

Leenie is so cute! :) LOL

We have a frugal zealot friend who scoffs at our buy nothingness on Black Friday. She's right -- that *is* when you get all the sale prices -- but that's not the point! :-)

Anonymous said...

Great post.

Having cut conventional (paper) newspapers and television out of our lives, and shopping primarily online and at locally owned retailers, my husband and I find the power of advertising to be very muted in our lives now. I couldn't tell you what the hottest toys are, what the new types of candy are, or even what Oprah suggests people buy this year. (I know this will change somewhat when my husband and I have kids. But they'll be the kids with the crazy parents who don't do tv.)

The only debt we have at this point is student loans. We don't believe in getting/staying in debt, either. It sounds like your child's teacher is living in denial about her own debt level and trying to normalize it by declaring that she's just like everyone else.

Our gifts this year are primarily going to be donations to Episcopal Relief & Development--the Heifer International of the Episcopal Church. For example, for my husband's mother (who's a nurse practitioner), we're buying prenatal care for two infants. For my extended family on my mother's side, we are paying for the education of two AIDS orphans in Africa for a year. Fortunately, we have the kind of family who finds gifts like these powerful. I think our family is lucky in that, while not being rich, for the most part we can afford what we really, really want for ourselves. We'll do some conventional gifts as well, but it's shopping for the donation gifts that gets me most excited.

Anonymous said...

oops--postnatal care is what i meant to say, not prenatal care. :)