Saturday, January 03, 2009

Conspicuous Consumption

imageI  had the distinct displeasure of visiting WalMart, Hobby Lobby, Menards and other fine purveyors of dreck in the several days after Christmas. Christmas items anywhere from 50 to 80% off! Folks grabbing up porcelain nativity figures, garland, bulbs, miniature houses (entire towns!), and all manner of lighted / inflated /inflatable things.

For what? To show their Christmas "spirit"? To get in the Christmas 'mood' next year?

I don't get it. One thing I've come to see over the last couple of years is that stuff is just stuff. One more Christmas item to put out is one more Christmas item to put away and store for 11 months of the year. Another strand of lights is another strand of lights to untangle next year before they can be hung. THey're just things. It's just stuff.

I was listening to a call-in radio show while driving somewhere recently and the topic of discussion was "What has the economy caused you to change this Christmas"? One couple decried that they had to cook in thier second downtown Chicago home instead of catering in. Some people wern't flying to the in-laws like they normally do. Only one caller said that instead of getting everyone multiple gifts they were making charitable donations.

Is the purpose of Christmas to glorify and celibrate your saviour? Then what does that more? Giving to those truly in need, or, to quote the Grinch, "Gifts gifts gifts gifts gifts"?

Of course, the thirty bucks I spent on LED lights (on clearance for $1.75!) was totally necessary. Saving the environment and all.

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