Sick of buying into Christmas


This week’s agenda: edit and publish a 16-page newspaper, write four pages about my opinion of Chinua Achebe and eight pages on William Faulkner, compose 10 pages on Shakespeare, finish an eight-page research project, work six hours at the Writing and Research Center, defend my senior thesis and find my fiance a Christmas present.

I wish I could say I’ve been working diligently on all these assignments and tell you a story about how easy it is to shop for someone you love, but I can’t.

Because the thing is, it is not easy to shop for someone you love. Even when you know pretty much everything about a person, gift-giving is a reciprocal act, and the more you focus on the meaning, the more that flannel shirt just doesn’t seem like enough.

How can you show your love for anybody through material means? I think the true answer is, you can’t.

And yet, here I am, worried about making Jason happy on Christmas when I know deep down he would be happy with $20 ammunition or a $20 dinner.

Why? Because capitalism. No, but really, Christmas has become all about becoming a good consumer and not about “Peace on Earth and good will to men.” Sam Griswold explains it a lot better than I do in the column below this.

My whole reason for writing this is that we as a society have commodified love. Just think of engagement rings.

“Oh, honey, 1/2 a carat? I’m so sorry. Doesn’t he know any better?”

Um yeah, he knows better. He knows better than to buy into your nonsense about the “cost” of love. The real cost of love is dying to oneself.

And yes, these are real reactions to people who could not even dream of affording to “go to Jared.” Give me a break.

I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of this myself, because I don’t have a full carat on my ring finger either. I am writing this after coveting my sister’s ring, which is only worth more than mine on a monetary level. All because I’ve been trained to believe love equals jewelry equals big price tag.

I don’t know when I started caring about this so much, and a lot of it is definitely determined by how much you value other people’s opinions, which apparently mean a lot more to me than I’d wish to admit.

My mom sent me a story about a woman who talked about her own experience with affordable wedding jewelry recently that really made me think critically about this whole thing.

The fact that there is an article from a woman defending her fiancé’s choice to purchase Pandora rings for her bridal set is sad. She shouldn’t have to defend herself.

What happened to real romance? You know, the stuff your grandparents tell you about their days as a dating couple. Or the story about how your parents met. That stuff is a better love story than any diamond.

I don’t know when we replaced “All I want for Christmas is you” with “All I want for Christmas is a million-dollar proposal,” but I am not a fan. And I’m sure Jason will understand when he receives dinner reservations or hunting supplies instead of a traditional gift.


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