I began writing this article to give you ideas for local gifts for the foodie in your life. But, it kind of got off track when I began thinking about our nation’s consumerism.
Americans rarely unite like they do on Black Friday. It’s the one day a year this country does a collective fist pump and, in unison, shouts, “Get the deals!” Nothing brings a bunch of consumer-whores together like a good bargain.
It’s a great representation of our cheap American concept of happiness. We spend Thanksgiving indulging in food, and Black Friday indulging in overspending. Can’t it just be enough? All that feasting? All that family?
There are pros and cons to belonging to a pioneering nation. On one hand, we move forward, fast and furious, motivated by the thrill of winning; on the other, we have rendered ourselves orphans relegated to an existence that begs for accolades, attention, and worth. We are not sons of long-standing tradition. We are far removed from civilizations that precede us. We are the prodigals, so to speak, out conquering, learning, messing up, but where should we call home?
Is home somewhere Better Homes & Gardens would find suitable? Martha Stewart? Aunt Peg? Is it where our hearts dwell? Do we have hearts anymore? Or have we blackened them with all our materialistic ambivalence?
If so, then Black Friday is not the problem, but a symptom of a larger problem: one small clue to diagnosing what ails us as a nation. We forget our neighbors, our planet and our own needs. We keep stuffing ourselves. More! More! More!
More is never enough. More is not the damned answer. And as we surround ourselves with symbols of our success, the web we entangle ourselves in calls our bluff, holds a mirror to our faces like Derek Zoolander staring into a puddle, and forces us to ask, “Who am I?” This usually happens around the same time our house is in foreclosure and the bank is repossessing our boat.
Baby, what we’re really looking for is something real. Connection. Love. They don’t sell that at Wally World. Black Friday or not, if we have empty hearts, it doesn’t matter how full our shopping cart is.
If you don’t know that, you should’ve listened to your mama.
On that note, here are some suggestions for gifts you could give someone you love, who loves to eat, and also hates Black Friday.
1) A membership to the Hickman Wine Club, a local biodynamic winery owned by a couple who make lovely wines in Bangor. (hickmanfamilyvineyards.com)
2) CSA membership to Grub or Pyramid Farms. Fresh produce weekly! (grubchico.org or pyramidfarms.com)
3) Subscription to Lucky Peach Magazine. This magazine is not local, but it is a forward thinking quarterly mag with articles by well-known names such as Anthony Bourdain. (http://www.mcsweeneys.net/luckypeach)
4) Maisie Jane’s Chocolate Mint Almonds. Please stuff my stocking with these little green bits. (www.maisiejanes.com)
Chico Chai Sampler Pack. Four flavors from our local brew-mistress. (chicochaitea.com)
5) Chico Chai’s Sampler Pack. Four flavors from our local brew-mistress. (chicochaitea.com)