We’ve Lost Sight In What These Holidays Are Meant To Be About

Ethan and I were talking over dinner and I probably wasn’t doing a very good job conveying what was on my mind, but I think I’ve decided that when we have kids, I want us to try and minimize the over-saturation of the marketing monster this time of year has become.

This is LITERALLY the first photo Google displays when you type in "Black Friday" for an image search.

(courtesy: technobuffalo.com) This is LITERALLY the first photo Google displays when you image search “Black Friday.”

Face it; we’re sheep.  We’re made to believe we HAVE to camp out on holidays meant for spending time with loved ones so we can buy another flat screen or “PS this or XBox that” at a CRAZY price (if there are enough quantities when we finally get inside).  We’re inundated with marketing campaigns that program not only us but our kids what the “must-have” items are each year, instead of deciding for ourselves what WE want or need.

I mean, how many GROWN-UPS fall for the “get her some pricey jewelry” or “tie the big bow around a $40,000+ sedan and park it in the driveway” gimmick?  Too many.

Hey, don’t get me wrong; the lights, the songs, some presents … all nice.  And I don’t have a religious bone in my body, but I sure wish the “war on Christmas” idiots would turn their attention to what’s REALLY “attacking” Christmas.  Macy’s.  Toys ‘R Us.  Walmart.  Lexus?

Personally, I’d rather we rewarded our kid(s) with bicycles and Playstations after an “all-A’s” report card, and instead got a few odds and ends at Christmas time.  Or after doing something selfless and having not been goaded to.

Today, I enjoyed some time out of the office to participate in the local Sertoma Club Christmas charity event; a few dozen volunteers were matched with some of the area’s poorest kids, given a budget and some info about the child, and tasked with helping them pick out some new clothes, shoes and a toy or two, as well.

My 8-year old partner was a blast to shop with: cute as a button and as sweet as could be. She was also (thankfully) pretty decisive about the clothing and shoes she liked (I, uncharacteristically have no skill with girls’ clothing).

What I enjoy most about participating in this function… these little ones give a “re-charge” to my faith in humanity’s future. The kids are wonderful; with all they could be jaded or bummed out about, they find joy in a little trip to KMart and some shopping with a total stranger. They’re all friends with each other, no matter the color or gender or size. They’re appreciative. They’re kind.

Reminds me a lot of what I enjoyed about coaching t-ball years back.

Oh; back to “the holidays.”  My new 8-year old friend’s mom doesn’t celebrate Christmas.  Eh, maybe it’s her religious choice or maybe it’s a financial burden.  Either way, we’ve all lost sight of what the holiday season is supposed to be comprised of.

Ironically, in Washington, politicians are aiming to reduce food stamp benefits (fa la la la la … ) and here we are, as a society, fighting over some crap at Walmart.  More irony?  Those folks working at Walmart – odds are they’re relying on those food stamps because Walmart ain’t about paying living wages to the non-managerial folks.  They say a raise would affect your “everyday low prices,” but the truth is, a $100 trip would cost you an additional $1.10 if their minimum wage was raised to $12.00 across the country.  That’s IF Walmart just didn’t eat the costs without passing it on; or IF Walmart ended their stock buyback practice (which mostly only makes the Walton family more wealthy than they already are – which is more wealthy then the lowest 40% of the country combined).

Where’s the “values” crowd on values we NEED to be better at?  This is the season of Jesus’ birth, and yet, I don’t see a whole lot of “Christian” influence on this country.  I believe this much … if he DOES come back, and sees all this, some of y’all are gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do.


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