Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reject the Holiday Hype

    I suppose I should warn you, I don't like having holiday advertising everywhere. It's not so much that I hate the holidays as it is that I hate the hype. Last I checked, the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving was as much of a myth as the Tooth Fairy. Oh, that post-card perfect Christmas, complete with everyone dressed in red velvet with white trim? That's not real except for as a picture, so don't get sucked into it either.

     I'm not sure why everyone is bombarded with demands from advertising campaigns everywhere that we buy mass produced garbage... erm, truck loads of the latest toys for the children who are even remotely in our lives. I'm not sure why there's something assumed to be wrong in your relationship if your significant other doesn't give you some exotic and incredibly expensive gift. If you're a woman, you're supposed to be draped in diamonds and other precious gemstones, wearing cashmere and generally looking like something out of a high end luxury catalog. If you're a man, you're supposed to have all of the fabulous and fascinating gadgets available this season.

     I don't know about you, but these unwritten rules and the laundry list of others that get thrown at us every year by the advertising campaigns are crazy. Actually, crazy isn't the right term and the one which comes to mind as I sit here writing this is far too vulgar to use, so we'll have to just leave that there. I find it incredibly demeaning to see this high consumerist and spoiled self-entitlement attitude being promoted everywhere you turn.

     This year, we are getting a reprieve, so I can't say it's as bad as it usually is. There is one good thing that has come out of the insanity of the current economic crisis and the political ugliness of the campaigns leading up to the election earlier this month, they didn't start bombarding us immediately after Columbus Day with advertising. With Thanksgiving coming up, however, we're hearing the ads singing the praises of spending like it is going out of style for 'Black Friday' creeping up.

     As we move into the holiday season, folks, let's do our best not to get sucked into the hype. Don't feel guilty if you can't afford that deluxe widget for that overpriced thingamajig that you gave the guy in your life. The same item that has sat on the shelf in it's original packaging ever since it got unwrapped on his birthday. Don't assume that you need to give the kids those outlandishly expensive toys that need forty billion batteries and about eight different sizes.

     The whole hype is a scam. Your holidays are perfect as they are because you put love into them. You may not have the 'perfect' family portrait or a pile of gifts that reaches up to hip height in the middle of the room. That's ok. Your Thanksgiving turkey may be a little bit over cooked and the stuffing on the dry side. This doesn't matter. What matters is you are with the ones you love and that you celebrate the bonds of family and friendship, not the image of the holidays that gets forced down our throats by the advertising campaigns.

(I originally posted this back in 2008. I think it still is relevant.)

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