Ravenous consumers threaten meaning of holidays

Ahh, America. The only country that celebrates a holiday that’s supposed to encourage our gratitude for all the things that we have, only to follow it up with the highest-grossing, consumer-driven day of the year.

Indeed, Black Friday is “celebrated” in preparation for another holiday that, like Thanksgiving, is supposed to be about giving, peace on earth and all that.

The Christmas season has become overrun with advertisements, deals and pure desire for material objects. It’s absolutely exhausting.

That being said, who doesn’t like to open presents on Christmas, or see your loved ones open the presents you picked out for them? But it’s out of control.

The problem starts when Target and Best Buy open at 11 p.m. the night before Black Friday even dawns, and people line up and camp outside literally a week prior so that they are primed and ready to buy whatever product it is that they so desperately “need.”

I did venture out to the big shopping mall by my house over break, but I wasn’t there for very long, and you wouldn’t catch me dead trying to fight my way through a mob of rabid shoppers all vying after the same flat screen TV.

When online cartoons start likening the Black Friday hordes to a bunch of rabid zombies on “The Walking Dead,” that’s when you know there’s an issue.

The worst part is, this type of behavior is starting to rub off on children who are still supposed to be in complete wonder and amazement during this time of year.

I remember when I was a kid, my parents and I had to wait in line for what seemed like hours to see Santa Claus.

Now, you go to the mall and see children strolling right past good old Saint Nick with their heads buried in their cell phones and iPads, or whining to their parents about what they want for Christmas.  The poor guy didn’t have a single doe-eyed child in his line during what should be his busiest time of the season.

The culture of Black Friday and the entire period of limbo that separates Thanksgiving from Christmas has become all about buying and getting. It has also, perhaps, become an even more defining feature of the Christmas season than what the holiday is supposed to actually be about.

I’m not a very religious person, but I can still see and appreciate the purpose of Christmas and the magic that the season brings to people. It’s a time, again, to be thankful for the people in our lives and to spend time with them. It’s a time to put up the decorations together, eat a home-cooked meal and then sit next to the fire and watch “Polar Express” or read “The Night Before Christmas.”

Children and adults alike should be dreaming about sugar plum fairies and Santa Claus, not whatever shiny, sexy piece of technology they hope to strip of its wrapping paper on Christmas.

If that is your outlook on the Christmas season, I hope you get nothing but a sockful of coal this year.



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