Monday, December 27, 2010

Bah Humbug???

Another Christmas has come and gone. All of the preparation, time and dollars have been spent. The children woke to find a toy filled wonderland of epic proportions. This holiday was, as usual a veritable smorgasbord of consumerism. Everybody got more than their fare share of heartfelt gifts. We all gorged ourselves on sweets and tore things open with reckless abandon!
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care (okay so there is no chimney in this house, but you get the idea) and the tree was surrounded by a heaping mound of carefully selected, painstakingly wrapped, and precariously arranged presents.
I can’t help but wonder every year as the present pile grows larger and larger and the toy room overflows with battery operated abundance, if the children really need all of this hullabaloo? I must concede that I take as much delight as anyone in the way their eyes light up when they see the Santa-fied living room on Christmas morning. And that picking just the right things for my individual loved ones is undeniably satisfying.
Yet I have to tell you that the message I feel we are sending as a society is gluttonous to say the least. And I often wonder will children who are given basically all they’ve ever wanted (and then some) ever learn to truly appreciate what they have and how they came to get it? And where is our social responsibility as we fill our homes with stuff while people, children literally starve to death in other parts of the world?
The idea of a holiday being about giving is genuinely wonderful. Without getting into the religious fervor which causes so much controversy this time of year; the true spirit of the holiday seems to have gotten lost somewhere in the shopping malls and mega corporation box stores. While I do realize that there is a great deal of charity during this season, and that those who have the financial resources to give, can and often do… The fact remains that Christmas is a consumer holiday, wrought with greedy gift mongering.
Underneath all the twinkly lights and pretty ribbon clad paper there is a much greater meaning. And this time of year allots us the perfect opportunity to take a look at the messages we are sending to our children. It gives us cause to stop and contemplate the state of our planet and what we can do to improve the quality of human existence. But most important of all, it gives a reason to fill socks with candy and eat cookies!


  1. I am desperately searching for the nervana that will allow me to thumb my nose at the gluttonous consumerism and STILL give my kids the Christmas excitement and marvel that I remember as a kid... I haven't hit the mark yet, as I too delight in picking just the right things to dazzle the little buggers. The closest I've come so far is that I no longer use credit cards. I refuse to turn over 15 - 25% MORE of my hard earned money for the follwoing 18 months for the gifts they forget about by February.

  2. Love your writing and I am right there with you. I am a little overwhelmed with the piles of new things we have acquired this year. I try to find balance in donating to others to hopefully show my children it's not just about the "getting".

  3. I hear you loud and clear!
    We actually ended up not giving the kids a couple presents that we had wrapped cause when we started opening everything from Grandparents and "Santa" and mom & Dad it was just WAY TOO MUCH! I was even overwhelmed!
    Next year...ONE gift each from the grandparents is all we are allowing. (and I am sure they will comply LOL!)