I’m certain no one would be surprised to learn that I dislike the “gimme gimme” attitude during the holidays. It sets us up for disappointment – I remember when I still looked more forward to “getting” than “giving” at Christmas – and after I opened all my presents, I was depressed. It wasn’t like the spread wasn’t fantastic – my mom does a great job of giving – it was that this stuff was not going to fill the hole that consumerism told me I needed to fill.
Since that Christmas, I’ve focused on what is most important – giving, appreciating the gifts I’ve been given, my family – and yes, the birth of Christ. It’s hard to do that without feeling pressure from the many ads out there. Part of me feels for these companies – they are trying to have a successful season, and I don’t begrudge anyone their success. But this constant barrage of “spend more, spend more here, PLEASE?” type of ads seems to suggest that Americans are only happy with more stuff. I’m certainly guilty of wanting more stuff – but this stuff never does what it’s promised to do. My life hasn’t been made complete by any phone, computer, clothing item or household goodie, no matter how fancy or expensive.
One ad that is particularly annoying is the J.C. Penney version of “Feliz Navidad”. It ends with “I wanna get my family more this Christmas from the bottom of me grande heart.” Other than the vaguely racist tones, I can’t help but be enraged by the message – my family deserves more stuff. Not more of my time, more of my love, more of my prayers and good thoughts, but more stuff. Also, some boots in mom’s size.
Please forgive me if I let loose a large growl when I hear that ad, or any others. I’m not anti-fun or anti-presents, but I do wish that our society focused less on money and more on the gifts God gave us of one another and the time we have together on this earth.
Merry Christmas, God’s peace to you and your family, and may all your Christmases be white.