Martha Thomases: Big Black Friday

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? I hope I did. I’m writing this in advance, of course, because journamalism (sic).

Anyway, unless something very terrible happens between the time I write this and the time is is published, you are reading this on Black Friday. This is a relatively new “holiday” devoted to shopping.

I hate it.

To me, Thanksgiving is a holiday about being grateful for what we have, our families, our friends, our health (if we’re lucky). It should not, to my mind, be followed by a greedfest, one that manipulates us into feeling guilty if we don’t spend enough money.

I, myself, am susceptible to this manipulation. If I watch enough television, I find myself wanting diamonds from chain stores. Chain stores!

Still, I’d like to use my bully pulpit here to recommend something else to consider when planning your holiday gift-giving. Yourself.

Do you have a lot of little kids on your list? How about, instead of buying them plastic toys that will break or bore them within the week, you give them a coupon good for ten hours (or more or less) of story-time. I had great times with my kid going through the DC Archives together. That was me and my kid. You’ll find books in your own collection that are right for yours.

If your kids are a bit older, you can amend the coupon to hours of play, as super-heroes, or hours of working together to create your own comics. You’ll both get stories out of making stories.

It’s a little bit more difficult to find non-material comic-themed gifts for people who are not children. Here are a few I would like to receive:

  • An editing and organizing of my stuff. Some of it is really good and I’ll want to read it again, if I can find it. Some of it is really good, but I probably won’t want to read it again, and some library might accept it as a donation. And some is just junk I haven’t thrown out yet. If someone would do all this for me, I would consider it to be a great gift.
  • A drawing of a super-hero costume designed just for me. It would show that the person giving it understand that I simultaneously want to be a super-hero and yet don’t want anyone to see my actual body in spandex.
  • An afternoon or evening indulging my fantasies. Not sex fantasies, but comic book fantasies. Maybe this means a long conversation about what kind of super-powers we’d like to have, and what kinds of crime we would like to fight. It would be the gift of being eight years old again. Maybe it means going over back issues of Zap Comix and laughing too much about the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. That would be the gift of being young and cool again.

Again, your specific friends and family will have different kinds of appropriate gifts. The specifics aren’t important. The gift of yourself is.

If you don’t have time to give, at least not in quantity, there are still lots of great comics and graphic novels from which to choose. Before the holidays come, I’m sure my colleagues on this site will have their own suggestions, as will I.

Just one more thing. If you are considering buying me chain store diamonds, this is the only chain that is acceptable.