Note: the original post was written in 2009, but then got corrupted in a server crash
Everyone receives Xmas promotional brochures from chain stores, local shops, big retail units, filled with hundreds of “unique” and “one-time”offers without which a citizen of the developed world cannot exist, be happy, provide others with happiness. We are indoctrinated to buy these products for ourselves, kids, family and friends, as if Christmas was measured through the value (not usefulness) of a particular paper-wrapped box, bottle or piece of cloth. As a result Christmas is going the way of modern weddings, where couples make their wishes known to (no, not the family) a retail outlet that compiles the “wedding gift list” so that wedding-goers can contribute to a perfect beginning by buying what the couple most needs: 17 spoons, 12 forks (5 were bought by Aunty M who could only afford five) and a soup bowl. No more finding 5 irons and 7 toasters – everything is organised to maxismise the effectiveness of every cent, kopeyka!
I wonder whether this new Christmas paradigm is a result of capitalism’s persistent strength (backed by the consumerist ideology) or the collapse of religion and the social nature of “holidays” that stem from the destruction of interpersonal bonds. Christmas without gifts, or with a single/simple one per person, is much different to the orgasmic (but short-lived) shopping frenzy and gift-unwrapping craze, that occur these days around millions of cut-down trees that begin their death many days before Dec 24th and keep-on-dying as we “celebrate” a miracle with immense quantities of food, alcohol and destroy our minds with crappy TV that keeps showing useless shows to the brainwashed and over-fed popluation of the mindless?
The extremes are fascinating – celebration of life with dead trees, piety with copious amounts of food, modesty through spending thousands on gifts, humility through the arrogance of buying people gifts they don’t need. We have found a way to run away from the much needed “period of family bonding” and turned into an ultimate capitalist fake: showing our “love” through junk, finding every opportunity to escape deep and meaningful conversations, learning about each other, strenghtening inter family bonds, helping and supporting those in need.
Admittedly, the next event will be less product oriented as no one has invented too many justifications for product purchasing on New Year’s Eve, but within a month and a half (Feb 14th) we will all rush out to show our love in the most Capitalistic of ways: by buying “red stuff”, “sexy stuff”, “love stuff”. Maybe, it is our fault, as we have fogotten what a true human-human bond is like, and now we seek to cover-up our incompetencies by flooding those close to us with useless gifts? Afterall, it is much easier to give a car to a kid once a year than to show love, compassion and attention (often in the greatest deficit) every day for 365 in a row? Somewhere, some time ago, we’ve been taught that a single gift can make up months of neglect or even evil. Should we blame it on the corporations, pushing forth their culture and ideologuy of consumerist happiness or should we look deep within ourselves and root out OUR weaknesses that misguide us into buying…things?