Have the holidays turned into a huge conspiracy theory?
I have learned a lot about how certain ideas and industries really work, rather than from the way that they are perceived in real life, from being a vegan. I won’t go too far into that, but I don’t believe that all the facts, are always presented, all the time to the public. And as consumers, we tend to place our heads in the sand when it comes to the things we enjoy doing, having, eating or pursuing. Sure lots of things are “bad for you” but how many of those things do we choose to still enjoy anyways? From foods, to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs of all kinds (legal and illegal); we want what we want and sometime we choose to look the other way even if we have an inkling that those things may not be what’s best for us.
After having many realizations that everything isn’t always as it seems, my mind often gets lost and I find myself thinking on a deeper level then ever before. Just the other day, my family and I were in the car, on the way to dinner listening to Christmas music on the radio. As I was listening and singing along I had a profound thought:
What if the government has hidden subliminal messages in all of our classic holiday songs that encourage us to buy more?
I know that is a pretty crazy notion, but what a genius way to trigger us to spend more… and more… and even more. A way to boost the economy at the end of the year, so that when tax time comes around the rich get richer, the lobbyist dig deeper and you and I are none the wiser because we are all waiting to get our tax returns to pay off our holiday debts.
It would be the perfect ploy. Think about it: we are taught holiday carols pretty much from the time we could understand them. We are trained like little monkeys when we are in school to perform them for our families. And in all that time we were being programmed to always want more.
As children we learn to associate the holidays with receiving gifts. We are excited by the commercials on TV and the ads online and can’t wait for our moment with Santa (and what better place should Santa be stationed then in the local shopping mall). Even children with the best upbringing are hoping to get more stuff. And parents these days find it harder and harder to say no. So they work more and more while little Johnny is left home alone not understanding any of it. The greatest gift that any child needs is for their parents to be present in their lives. I know when I look back at my life, I don’t think about the gifts that I got, but instead about the time I spent with my family (some of whom are no longer with us). The traditions that we had and the memories that we created. Sure I remember the year that I got the Inspector Gadget doll that I really wanted, but I would trade that in a second if I could just have spent one more Christmas with my dad now. Just one more holiday together with the people I lost over the years. But I digress…
I know there will be some parents who will say that they have taught their children the “real” meaning behind whatever holiday their family celebrates. But let’s get real for a second mom and dad of the year. If you were to ask most kids what they looked forward to during the holidays, I can bet 90% would say the toys and/or gifts they received score way above spending time in church with their second aunt that they see once a year. I mean how many kids do you know that actually want to celebrate the holidays for what they are “supposed to be” rather than what they have become? That magical day, that for a lot of children, all their
materialistic dreams come true wrapped up with colorful paper and ribbons. Sure some children will have it better than others, but what is the real toll that those gifts have played on their families? How many extra hours did mom and dad have to work to get little Johnny the most sought after “what-cha-ma-call-it-imal” so that in a month or two it could be shoved in the corner and forgotten about, then trashed or hopefully donated?
Was that really the best use of time and money from parent to child?
Then, as an adult there is a shift. You go from the receiver to the gift giver. Feeling that you have to give bigger and better every year to “keep up with the Joneses”. Blue collar consumers have to work harder and longer the rest of the year just to give gifts that many will forget about or re-gift to someone next year so that they can instead buy that Black Friday TV for themselves. And the circle goes on and on while Bing Crosby plays softly in the background. The triggers come into to the radio earlier and earlier and stores stay open longer and longer. But your holiday bonus gets smaller and smaller while interest rates climb and you fall deeper and deeper into debt.
I am by no means an anti-holiday person. And I love giving and receiving an awesome gift as much as the next person. But as I get older (and try to live a more intentional life through minimalism) I just can help but shake my head at the Black Friday crowds I see on TV. And I am disgusted by the stores that are open on Thanksgiving. And for the love of all that is holy, please stop playing holiday music right after Halloween! I feel like the holidays should be a time that we all slow down a little and really reflect on our lives and loved ones. Life is too short to be waiting in line, in a tent, in front of Best Buy at 3pm on Thanksgiving day just to buy a TV that was probably already marked up so high in the first place that when the price drop on Black Friday the only person really winning in the end is Mr. Samsung himself. Not you, nor the poor employee that is working and missing time with their family.
And so many wonder why the family system is falling apart. Maybe the Millennial’s have the right idea after all? Not wanting to have children and instead choosing to spend their money on living in the moment instead of for the moment you remove the plastic film from the newest fruit phone. Some people probably spend more time with their electronic devices then their actually living and breathing family members and friends. Or if they are spending time with their loved ones, everyone is sitting around the dinner table like zombies paying homage to their little blue screens. Scrolling through websites or pinning the next best thing that will “make them happy”. The next best thing. But I digress….. again.
Anyways, just a long and drawn out thought. I hope everyone reading this has a great holiday however you and your loved one’s choose to celebrate (or not celebrate) it. Just live every moment like it could be your last because you never get a chance to do today over again. And no one really needs a hippopotamus for any reason, they can be mean SOB’s!