Food for Thought
By Erin Gardner
I am Erin Gardner, ‘The Seton Connection’s’ online editor, bringing to Seton, ‘Food for Thought’, a bi-monthly philosophical column. My hope for this column is to introduce thought-provoking issues and to stimulate conversation. Welcome and relax!
In the business of retail, it is difficult to grasp the reality of the now, the peace of the holiday at hand, and the enjoyment of not hearing Christmas songs in July. October brings Christmas to all retail stores. Radio stations begin to play Christmas songs before Thanksgiving. And it is now social protocol to say ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’. We, as society, are living in consumerism, the belief that it is beneficial for society to spend money and time on material items.
This week’s topic: Consumption Junction. With the holidays fast approaching, tis the season just isn’t felt as much when there are Christmas trees staring back at you while nestled in between the Jack O’Lanterns and cornucopias. With the rise of social media, consumerism is pushed to the extreme with sales on Veterans’ Day, Fourth of July, and Presidents’ Day. Personally, I refuse to buy a mattress to save $100 just because it’s Fourth of July. Black Friday has taken on a mind of its own, the Starbucks ‘red cup’ has gained attention for satanic ties, Thanksgiving is thrown under the bus, and as soon as Halloween passes, Elf is being quoted and Mariah Carey is being screamed in the car with the Uggs tapping and the vests flaring.
Thanksgiving is no longer seen as a holiday to give thanks and enjoy the company of family and friends; it is seen as a preamble to Black Friday. The stores have announced that they will open at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. The alleged sales have caused countless numbers of people to camp outside stores on Thanksgiving morning. People have experienced stampedes, stabbings, pepper spray, and rude comments. Society is more than willing to leave family affairs so they can buy a flat-screen television at $150 off. Cyber Monday, targets the stay-at-home moms, and has caused Internet connections to switch off.
The deep-rooted effects of giving Christmas gifts contribute to the societal norm of purchasing name brands. Christmas lists given include Polaroid cameras, Sperry boots, Lulu Lemon leggings, and Lily Pulitzer merchandise. People are asking for money or gift cards to avoid the present of Grandma’s socks every year. Financial factors underwrite outcasts at the lunch tables and exclusion at the Friday night parties.
The tears eventually prove that the price tags don’t define self-worth. The Christmas trees and yuletide carols prove that Christmas should be about the now, not the amount of gift wrap.
The Holiday season should be a time to enjoy company and celebrate Jesus’s birth, not a time dedicated to gift bows and rollbacks. The holiday season should be a time about giving rather than receiving; smiling, instead of frowning; and more importantly, thanking God.
Merry Christmas, Seton.