Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

Every holiday season, I am astounded and disgusted once again by the rampant commercialization, consumerism and greed that is brought out of people. Products never before seen are brought out; the stores are hustling and bustling with the din of frenzied shoppers, all wanting to get the latest, greatest, blow-out-bargain! As Alix Olsen proclaims: “America’s on sale!”But this year, I am going all out. Instead of only buying others fair-trade gifts, this time I will not be getting anyone anything at all! And the best part is that I can get away with it, since I am a “poor college student.”By telling them I will not be buying gifts for anyone this year, this will assure that they don’t get me anything either.

I have become so jaded by the consumerism and blind materialism that I don’t enjoy shopping, and around the holiday season, I dread it.

What I dread even more is the fact that people become slaves to material objects and silly traditions. I am choosing to echo Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza’s idea of “A Festivus for the Rest of Us!” To my utter surprise, there are many entries about Festivus on Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), including the history on the Seinfeld sitcom and where it originated.

I have also realized something that gives me some hope because of society’s ever-present gender roles: If women nationwide refused to dress the turkey, cook the meal, or do so much as one trip of shopping, the whole holiday industry could be put to a halt. Men, many who may be much like my father, would be inept andwould refuse to take on any of the work themselves, especially when it comes to the cooking.

Therefore thousands, if not millions of turkeys could be saved, tons of bread could be given to the poor from which the stuffing mixes would no longer be in need of, and America as a whole would lessen its consumption of holiday-time food and return to the regular amount needed in non-holiday times.

No decorations would need to be made or bought, saving extreme amounts of resources that usually go into this–not to mention the demand for gifts, which would no longer be present. Thus, women could turn the entire world economy virtually upside-down in a matter of 24 hours by simply refusing to participate in these silly rituals and traditions that they themselves are mostly responsible for enacting.

But alas, it’s not that easy. For those of you who can’t opt out of holiday traditions, and would go through more trouble dealing with people if you didn’t buy people gifts than if you do, please consider not buying from Wal-Mart (go to www.walmartwatch.com to find out why) or other stores that buy from sweatshops. To find out which stores buy from companies that have been cited as sweatshops, go to the “sweatshops” link and look at the Retailer Scorecard at www.coopamerica.org.

There are plenty of alternatives out there for purchasing holiday gifts that won’t break your wallet or contribute to sweatshop production. For a huge listing of “green” stores or to search by the type of product you’re looking for, visit www.greenpages.org.

You also may want to go to Ten Thousand Villages (www.tenthousandvillages.com) which is located fairly close to us in the Main Street at Exton shopping center. They have really awesome, beautiful items made by people in developing countries for fair wages. Or just join me in boycotting the holidays. A Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Sally Cramer is a senior majoring in studio arts with minors in communication studies and women’s studies.

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