It has come to my attention lately that the Christmas season is upon us. I am NOT happy about it. I have come to greet the Christmas season with a sense of “They’re doing it AGAIN? Really?! WHY?!? This is usually followed by “Haven’t they figured out that shopping doesn’t buy happiness?” I then shake my head, totally baffled, and resign myself to getting through another season of watching people’s false beliefs in the power of stuff, dashed dreams when more stuff doesn’t fix everything, and the resulting panic when they get the bill.
I have this theory that Christmas, as we now know it, peaked in the 1940’s-50’s with Bing Crosby and Perry Como (leaning on something, of course). Virtually ALL of what we now think of as Christmas “tradition” came from that heady post-WWII shopping frenzy era. We met Frosty in 1950, It’s a Wonderful Life in 1946, Rudolph in 1939, and the Grinch in 1957 (thank you Wikipedia). And then we got stuck. I love some of those old movies, but I’m really tired of the “More! More! More!” mantra. Enough already!
The idea isn’t to hate Christmas. It’s to put something more meaningful than Chia pets back into it. Face it. Most of us have too much crap as it is. We don’t need the $10 Dirty Santa gift, another tie, or even more chocolate covered cherries. We have enough. Oh, but just imagine how much richer we would all feel if we realized it.
There are a few groups who are taking steps to help folks get a grip on this strange addiction, and offer some alternatives. One of the more entertaining groups are Annie Leonard and the “Story of Stuff” folks, who recently came out with this fun little Black Friday video: http://www.storyofstuff.org/blackfriday/. Their other videos are also quite educational and entertaining.
Other groups that are on to the lie of “Christmas = Stuff” include:
Also, if you’d like a little fun reading that provides lots of options for how to go about celebrating Christmas in a less commercial way, check out “$100 Dollar Holiday” by Bill McKibben.
OK. I’ll quit ranting now.