Thursday, November 24, 2005

Don't Buy Anything Day

Long ago, when Christian priests were trying convert the Pagans, they converted the Pagan holidays into Christian ones. One such was the celebration of the winter solstice, which was converted into a holiday celebrating the birth of Christ. Now the High Priests of money have successfully done the same thing with this Christian holiday, converting a day celebrating the birth of Christ into a celebration of materialism and greed. Nowhere is that greed more prominently displayed than on the day following Thanksgiving, where thousands of brainwashed consumers hop into their sport utility behemoths (the better to hold more purchases), drive out to the malls where they will while away the day in a spending frenzy, using paper and plastic to dig a hole that they will have to refinance their houses to get out of, all because they just have to get that someone something because they will be getting them something and it's all about giving. So they buy something stupid, but that doesn't matter, it's the thought that counts, for someone that they really don't know all because they feel a sense of obligation.
The stores, aware of this sense of guilt, will offer up some cheap trinket to get the people to line up early in the morning to be one of the first fifty shoppers in the store. "Here's something made by slave labor in China that you can reward yourself with for being so gullible that we got you out of bed early on your one day off before the holidays to open your checkbook up here first!"
To that end, some people are now spending the day after Thanksgiving, not buying anything, in a day they call, appropriately enough, National Don't Buy Anything Day. It's an idea whose time has come. What kind of maniac would want to fight the crowds in a feeding frenzy "because of all the bargains" when the truth of the matter is, if you wait until a few days before the holidays, stores so desparate not to be stuck with excess inventory start marking down items in an effort to get it off the shelves.
The past few Christmases have been dismal for retailers and if you used your head, you'd see why. All the money spent on crap made overseas means that the money that used to go to Americans for these products means that the money is going somewhere else. The price hasn't gone down, so therefore this means a bigger profit in the pockets of the Capitalists who glory in this season because they don't have a mansion in Wisconsin yet and would like to purchase one next year before the deer hunting season starts. And if you want to see their definition of sucker, just look at the news reports (and they do on every year) of the feeding frenzies at the malls and see if you can glimpse any soul in the eyes of the shoppers as they parade up and down the aisles of the local Wal-Mart looking for that one gift for Gladys in accounting who got them that nice candy dish (now safely tucked away in the cupboard above the fridge) last year and they didn't get her anything.
This why I don't care too much for Christmas, not just because I don't believe in Jesus, or because I won't be getting anything this year (I'd prefer to get nothing as opposed to the crap I had to pretend to like over the years). It's because the original point of giving something special has been replaced by giving anything to any vague acquaintence because of a sense of obligation. Or over stimulating children by giving them so much stuff that they can't really soak it all in and they don't appreciate any of it because their siblings or cousins got one too and it's not really special.
I remember one Christmas, when I was married, my youngest son, Nelson really wanted an Ed, Edd, & Eddy as that was his favorite cartoon. My wife and I searched all over, stores, the internet, looking for anything to do with that show. There was nothing. Finally, I cut some figures out of a piece of wood, spent hours sanding the edges, painted each character on the pieces of wood and gave them to him, from Santa. He loved those toys! he took them everywhere with him, even to bed. They were his favorite toys because they were special, made with love, not by some Chinese dissident. And that, to me, symbolized the whole holiday spirit. So I will be getting my boys stuff for Christmas this year, I just won't be buying it on the day after Thanksgiving.

20 comments:

laurica said...

You said "I don't believe in jesus". Jesus is a historical figure, that is unquestioned. What you meant to say is that "I don't believe jesus is a religous figure, or the son of God".

Anonymous said...

AMEN! I whole heartedly agree. I am a single father(once married) of two girls and a boy. My oldest girl has been spoiled rotten sense birth by her mother and other family. she wants for nothing. and has all the appreiciation of a gnat for anything she recieves. its a daily struggle for me to try to reverse the damage. goodluck and many blessings to you on you efferts in "unbrainwashing".

Lew Scannon said...

laurica- You're right, that is what I meant to say.

Lily said...

Anonynous- you CAN reverse it and its worthwhile and important to do so, as best you can. It always saddens me in divorce situations where one parent has the ability to exert more influence. What can you do when it is not consistent with your core values, or what you would like for your child?
Children ultimately learn what they live. If they see selfishness and waste and resource squandering and grow up with entitlement, they will learn these things. The best you can hope to do is set a good example.
Like Lew- actually getting out and walking places. You'd be surprised how many parents don't have the energy to model something beyond a sedentary life.

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