Christmas and Consumerism
Every year, the day or so after Christmas, I give myself this little pep talk,
“Next year I’m going to tone down the gifts, spend less money, and concentrate on family.”
Umm… yeah. I’m really not so very different from this little lady:
“I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”
Why is that? One reason is that advertisers are incredibly good and I am not above their tactics. A Target ad convinces me I need shiny home decor, my table should be overflowing with food on which to over-indulge, my kids will glow and love me when they open their eye-popping presents.
Can I blame it on the ads though? No. I make the choice.
My parents used to take us on a drive to look at everyone’s Christmas lights and we absolutely loved it. I don’t remember thinking, “I need to have a yard display like that.” Maybe I don’t give my kids enough credit. Maybe I’m projecting my own consumer-driven decisions onto them.
I read an article recently by Tony Compolo where he said this,
“The American economic system could not continue to exist without keeping us constantly dissatisfied and somewhat unhappy. Consider the fact that if you are happy with your life; if you enjoy spending time with your children, playing with them and talking with them; if you like nature; if you enjoy sitting on your front steps; if your sexual life is relatively happy; and if you have a peaceful sense of who you are and are stabilized in your relationships; if you like solitude, enjoy praying and just like talking to people—spending time in conversation with them; if you enjoy living simply; if you have no need to compete with your friends or neighbors; you haven’t spent a nickel.” (Read the article in its entirety here.)
I’m thinking about how I can incorporate these things into my consumer-obsessed holiday season.