Saturday, November 29, 2008

And We Call Ourselves Civilized

Warning: Holiday rant follows

Shopping. Not really one of my favorite things to do. I especially hate Black Friday shopping, or pretty much any shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyone is at the store, making it difficult to get around (because they want to leave their cart in the middle of the aisle, making it impossible for anyone to pass, and then shoot you evil stares when you try to politely say excuse me, I'd like to pass). Everyone is crabby and short with each other, and very, very few people are really into the spirit of Christmas. Heck, who cares what this season is about, I'm just here to spend gobs of money on things that no one really needs just so I can feel important.

Three people are dead after yesterday's shopping, and many more I'm sure are injured. I find it absolutely barbaric that we as human beings, in a supposedly Christianized society will trample a man to death, and then continue shopping because our own lusts for "stuff" is more important that the life of one man. And, what idiot brings a gun to go shopping, even if it is Black Friday? Seriously. Barbaric. How can anyone look at us as a nation and think that we are civilized when we act like hungry lions on the Serengeti at feeding time. We are so concerned with getting the best "deal", that we will kill our fellow man to get it. It is amazing to me.

I hear of parents who want to spend $300 to $400 per child, just for Christmas presents. What on earth does a child need that much stuff for? My husband and I don't spend that much on presents for our 6 kids in a whole year, let alone for one day. I hear of parents talking about taking out loans, just so they can spend as much as they want on their children. And then later, wonder why their children are so selfish and self-centered. I've had discussions with people about why my children have to get exactly the same number of toys that all add up to exactly the same amount of money, because "they're counting, really, they're paying attention and they're all going to get jealous of each other". Really? I didn't have any problems with it until it was made a problem by certain family members. When it was made an issue, it became an issue.

For the most part, my kids do pretty well at Christmas. We've tried not to make a big deal out of the presents we give (extended family does what they will and there's not much we can do about it), but we've tried hard to make sure that they understand the meaning of Christmas. From our family, we don't do much in the way of presents, leaning more towards family gifts, which seems to work well for us. I do like to do the stockings, but we don't put a ton in them.

I guess my point is, we as a nation tend to focus far too much on material aquisition (especially of cheap crap that breaks easily), and we don't focus much on each other, or our relationships. We are so much more interested in getting what we want, that killing a person in a stampede is deemed less important than shopping for the ultimate gift. We are so much more interested in getting our kid the latest toy so we can be perceived as the "cool" parents, that we will bring guns to a toy store to get what we want.

And we call ourselves civilized.

I am working on something, an idea for Christmas. I will get it up in the next week, so stay tuned.


Nick said...

I agree completely. I think you'll also find this take by Megan McArdle to be interesting.

MommaBlogger said...

Very. I am amazed at the materialism found in today's society, especially children.

My husband had a thought a few years ago, that an interesting way to get the point of Christmas across, would be to remove all the presents from under the tree, and replace them with the Nativity. Then have a discussion on the meaning of Christmas. We thought about then donating everything under there to a local charity of some sort, but we haven't figured out the logistics of it. We also don't put presents out before Christmas Eve, so that doesn't help push the point home. It's a thought in progress...