The holidays have started to fade into the haze of “in 2016 I’m going to…” and “this year is going to bring…” and other “promising” New Year resolutions, and while everyone looks forward into the next 12 months that will continue unfolding the chapters of their lives, I find myself looking backwards. Looking back one week to be exact, right around December 24th when I was genuinely concerned that my debt-filled credit card would call me to declare war. Thanks holiday purchases!
Despite this minor anxiety, I’m actually ok with credit card debt. Trust me, having loans teaches you how to cope with the bone crushing feeling of a debt anvil. It was the feeling of being cheated from the emotional goodness I was promised from 1950’s holiday movies that created an internal conflict.
Truth is, over the years the meaning and purpose of Christmas has become more and more diluted, shifting far away from its religious roots and landing in a pool filled with advertisements, iPads and flat screen TVs. That’s right, the big fat white Santa everyone teaches their children to believe will come down their chimney with gifts is actually just a fictional character designed by Coca Cola for a commercial in the 1930s. “Santa” became famous faster than Twista can rap “overnight celebrity.”
The same way Coke brought the fat guy into the homes of millions, other companies jumped in on the fun and started spending massive amounts of money advertising merchandise that they brainwashed you into thinking you needed to celebrate the season in an extra special way. In comes extreme pressure of chaotic consumerism.
Not meaning to get all Grinch-y over here, but I’ve started questioning if this system is really something I want to contribute to.
When my family asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told them, “don’t get me anything please, I’m just excited to go home and spend time with you.” Of course, my shopaholic mother didn’t take that as an answer. So when she made me give another answer, I said, “money for a bike would be great, but seriously you don’t have to get me anything.” As a traveler, you realize you can’t have a bunch of crap to lug around because if it doesn’t fit in your backpack, or help you get from one destination to the next, it’s probably not necessary.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for receiving “things,” I know that my family, much like most other American families, expects gifts,
because massive corporations brainwashed them into thinking they needed their products, because ’tis the season to be jolly and give give give. I prepared well for the consumerist battle and shopped for my family’s presents an entire week before flying home on a stressful flight from LA to NYC. Great success. A few swipe-a-roos later and I was all ready to contribute to the commercial celebration.