American society has turned the holidays into such a consumerdriven fiasco that people engage in physical fights over the newest fad toy. Children begin their wish lists soon after Halloween. Whether it is Toys ?R? Us? toy book or the Urban Outfitters catalogue, most young people everywhere yearn for presents when the holidays roll around.I really wish my family would just forgo holiday gift giving. We are all grown, and I can?t exactly speak for my siblings, but I just don?t need anything. If I want something bad enough, I can buy it for myself. Maybe it?s just that I don?t have close relationships with many members of my family. But I do know that after the holidays, I always end up with junk that I don?t need. I am not ungrateful.
Rather, I am very grateful, and would rather not be the recipient of any gifts, but encourage others to use the money they would usually spend on gifts and donate it to a charity instead. After all, since the holidays have become centered on giving (sadly), why not give to people who REALLY have needs?
Every year, it seems as though the holiday displays come out earlier, that holiday music is playing weeks before Thanksgiving, etc. What is it about material items that make us want them? Status?
Fitting in? The thrill of buying something new? Even when I go to shopping places, I find myself fighting the urge to give in and buy new-fangled products.
According to a Washington Times article, consumers have rebounded after a three-month slump. This may be due to the election being over and gas prices coming down a bit. Naroff Economic Advisers says that “Consumer spending is quite solid, and with jobs possibly being created again, we just might have a decent holiday shopping season.”
Target is experiencing better sales than Wal-mart, and this may be because more affluent customers shop at stores like Target and are less affected by high energy prices. According to USA Today, consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the economy. I can only wish that our society would not be so consumer driven.
And of course, if people didn?t buy things, the entire economy would have to be re-structured. I understand that I need to accept things for how they are. I know that?s not going to be fixed…ever. So in the meantime, we can at least try to be less materialistic. When you?re going to buy something, ask yourself, “Why do I want that sweater?
Do I need another sweater? Will this just end up being a knickknack to go in the trash?” Then, think of those who can?t even have a Thanksgiving meal, nevertheless expensive holiday presents.
“What can I do to help, then?” you are hopefully asking yourself by now. The office of Service Learning & Volunteer Programs in the basement of Killinger Hall has a list of children who are in need of someone to buy presents for them. Although there are material items on those lists, I would rather buy a teddy bear for a child who may not receive any other presents than something for a member of my family who already has or is able to buy anything they need or want.
I keep trying to encourage my family to either forgo gift giving, or just pick one person?s name out of a hat, but it has yet to happen. Maybe other families will be more receptive to this idea, as it would definitely make holiday gift giving less stressful, as it should not be at all.
Give second thought to your holiday gift giving plans this year. Anyone upset over the fact that you are not going to be buying them a present and will buy for someone less fortunate instead obviously does not understand the spirit of the holidays. After all, “It?s in the singing of a street corner choir, it?s going home and getting warm by the fire….” Well said, Kermit.