Over the last month, we have witnessed the competition for the consumers' bucks. It begins before the feast of Thanksgiving and ends after Christmas. What have Thanksgiving and Christmas become?
It seems that sales, bargains and the thrill of the chase can be more alluring than family time. Focusing in on these holidays as a family event rather than the pure essence to be thankful and giving may be part of the problem. The illusion of a family being an idyllic image of love has passed, negating past iconic families in "Father Knows Best," "Leave It to Beaver," "Gidgit," etc.
With the probability of the family unit "at risk" and prime and quality time limited, there has been an invasion of things as a substitute for love, caring and connection. Commercials announce all of the wonderful things that money can buy, "showing the love factor." Parents and people hear messages to enhance the pursuit of the need for the latest cell phone, newest fab toy and the best technology around, so that one can have bragging rights of being in an elite category of privileged consumers.
One's insecurity shows when that person needs things to be validated as a worthy or valuable human. An old Beatles tune, "Money Can't Buy You Love," seems like an admirable philosophy to direct one's life path. People need human kindness. So many times people substitute objects for happiness, love and comfort, leading to an internal emptiness or void. Therefore, the consequences of object appeasement can translate into an obsession to buy.
This madness to shop has been in the spotlight like a gladiator bout with other warriors. Shoppers receive the same sort of satisfaction to be the purchaser of something hard to get. Their prowess in the aisles leads to a sense of accomplishment since their efforts have paid off with the prize of purchase. No longer are challenges in life as exciting as copping a limited number item in the shopping bag. There's an adrenaline rush when a shopper has outlasted the other competitors. If someone gets hurt in the process, all's fair in love and shopping.
One thought has been repeated to urge this consumer rush. When the holiday season comes, the stores imply that they "get out of the red" due to the "Black Friday" label. This comment is erroneous since those words referred to people getting injured because of uncivil behavior in the past and replicated today. Somehow, this misused concept has furthered the stores' purpose to make money because people believe that purchasing commodities saves jobs. Seventy percent of the economy is based on buying, and the consumer mentality to help the economy bears out by excessive spending sprees. If people wanted to be more fiscally prudent, the economy would be shaken to its roots with reduced indulgent behavior.
So the current theme during this season is promoted with a witty saying like "Shop 'til you drop." In all of the hustle and bustle of buying and doing, it would be hard to imagine much attention to the most exciting moment in history, the birth of our savior for all people. How can that take second place to some commercial hype to buy for a "love object?" For a moment, let's reflect on the statement "The best things in life aren't things."
Remember, a person's character could be defined by love for all genres of people and never reserving it for only cherished family and friends. Show your love in an abundant way and make that as one's mantra.
The love of God shows in His gift of His Son ... So can we do anything less than love one another?
Jeanne Polisoto is a Forestville