Happy Holidays everyone! Sorry I haven't blogged in a bit, but I've been extremely ill and well the holiday-related madness. Anyways, if it pleases the court, I'd like to talk about the latter. Yes, despite several outpatient surgeries and other things I tried to trudge through that oh-so-Christmas event known as shopping. Ok, I only went out three times, but that was enough for me. Frankly, I am beginning to believe they should change the name of Christmas to Consumermas. There was nothing I could find meriting all the hassle at the stores. Especially didn't feel like contributing more funds to China in the form of some plastic trinket. Seriously, is this what the holidays are all about now?
I think Charlie Brown, or more specifically, his creator Charles M. Schultz had it right. There is too much commercialism in Christmas. I remember seeing displays being put up for sale at Costco a day or so before Halloween! Talk about creepy or weird, Santa sitting next to a giant Tarantula. And nothing, well, almost nothing being sold to our kids is made in this country! Hell, let alone being made in this continent, most of the stuff just reeks of sweatshop.
Now I'm not a religious person by nature. I believe in God, but couldn't grasp the whole Jesus thing as being legit despite being raised a Catholic. And also, compared to other holidays, Xmas was not my favorite. So, perhaps this makes me a double hippocrite for even talking about this. Yet if I have to endure it and, given that I'm forced this year to host the holiday parties (a relative of mine who used to do it lost their house), I think I'm somewhat in the right to comment.
I went into Kohls, Sears, Costco and Toys 'R' Us (which I may add is a dump!), and no matter what I looked at, a sense of guilt came over me. Everything seems to look "cheap" even the high priced electronics, like as if you know..you just know that it won't last past a couple of years. Glancing at the clothes, like I mentioned earlier, images of sweatshops and eleven-year old girls in Vietnam (I've noticed that a lot of shirts aren't even coming from China anymore) sitting on wooden stools hunched over Chinese-made sewing machines on 12-hour shifts came into my mind. By the way, if you're wondering, I skipped Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.
Actually, after several hours, I did find two items made in America, tube socks and books. I know I missed a bunch more, but I wasn't feeling well and frankly I hate holiday shopping. To me, holidays be it religious or secular, should be more than buying stuff. I hate it that we got a society that goes from one buying binge to another. One thing that got to me was the public. Now here we are, the economy in the pits, folks in the store telling me they lost their job or on the verge or know someone who did. Yet what do I see these very same people doing? Buying trinkets and gadgets and anything made of plastic and the sweat of under-paid workers putting their stuff on their credit cards. Plastic on plastic for people with plastic expressions!
So I bought books for the kids. Now I don't have any children of my own, but I try and pay attention to what they're reading. The younger ones I got that new JK Rowling book and for the older ones stuff more specific; the two who are into politics are getting the Shock Doctrine (one actually asked for it). The rest, I decided on gift certificates for Borders (another madhouse). I'm sorry, maybe I'm supposed to load up on video games, but frankly thought they could go without Gears of War 2 or Metal Gear, I wanted to give their brains a gift...OK, maybe the Rowling book doesn't do that, but something tells me blowing away aliens doesn't either.
When I was younger, hell even today, I'll see those Norman Rockwell paintings of family gatherings and figured it was a much more purer time. I wasn't around then, so maybe it was bullshit back then too. But something tells me it was better back then when it came to the holidays and friends and all that good cheer, than the mall madness we got today. You bought little Timmy that Radio Flyer wagon, you knew your money was staying in this country and that the damn thing would last. Today? Well I was at Toys 'R' Us, and counted two plasticy things called Radio Flyers and both had wheels missing. What a good analogy of America today.
Sorry for being the grump. Even so, let me wish you all a very Happy Holiday season. Peace be with you all. Stay safe, we need every last one of you to move the country forward starting in January!