Christmas and its shopping frenzy are upon us. It's our citizens' duty to help jump-start the ailing economy by doing our bit and helping malingering sales and suffering retailers.
60% of Americans are in long-term debt over their credit cards. I'll spare you the exact data. With promises of no payments until 2012, sales, and discount upon discount, there really is no excuse not to partake and buy the long wanted Wii or the umpteenth piece of jewelry; or just more Chinese-made plastic junk and numerous toys, depending on your personal circumstances and pocket book. 15 million Americans are addicted to shopping. People are trampled to death in the Black Friday Crush over bargains, having waited outside stores for hours in the cold of the night to squeeze into shops first in pursuit of the almighty dollar and worshiping at the altar of consumerism.
I don't do Christmas anymore. That's right. I'm a cynic, or just honest and consequent. My neighbors don't understand it either. It has nothing to do with my husband losing his job and money being tight. (Nobody wants to be homeless for Christmas or afterwards.)
It started with my teenage children wanting money for Christmas. They had long given up believing in Santa and had figured out it was a sweet deal for them: they painted me a card or bought a box of unwanted- chocolates and got a specified amount in return. The divorce of their parents didn't help. What dilemma: Where to spend the holidays? One of the parents would be lonely.
My lack of interest also was compounded by the shopping season starting earlier and earlier, with piped "Dreaming of a white Christmas" molesting my ears as early as September; Christmas sweets like Stollen being stacked up in the shops as early as August. Neither do I like to remember who got what last year, or the calculations of who is getting what amount (i.e.in dollars). We don't want to look like cheapskates after all.
As a pioneer green activist, the lavish, over the board multi bulb, million wattage displays irritate the heck out of me. At least nobody in our neighborhood has a Multimedia Xmas display to attack our eardrums in addition. Anybody here heard of global warming, carbon footprints, and the necessity of cutting down on consumption? Be that electricity or waste. Thinking of the extra five million tons of garbage from wrappings after Christmas makes me fell slightly nauseous.
As I said, I'm a cynic. I do miss Christmas the way it was when I was a child. I do miss cold weather, snow, real Christmas trees with real candles, the smell of Christmas markets, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, as well as the overall wonder of Christmas. I realize that my cherished childhood memories are intimate and individual thanks to my parents who made the experience possible for me by being conformist and following traditions. But almost 40 years later, our society is sated, most people own what they need and therefore most of us are clueless as what to buy for relatives. And only 7 days of shopping left! I didn't mean to spoil it for you. Maybe you feel the same but don't admit it yet. We spend under 1 hour a week on spiritual pursuits but 5 hours on shopping. I do wonder whether this is what the birth of Christ was all about and what Jesus would have bought. And I'm not even particularly religious.