Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

It slices! It dices! It does your laundry!

on November 24, 2010

I think it’s generally understood and accepted that we live in a consumer culture.  We’re constantly bombarded with imagery that in one glance tells us that our lives are somehow lacking because we don’t own THE essential item.  We’re not yet whole because we don’t have the most up-to-date electronics or the most fashionable home furnishings. 

This time of year, the commercials, catalogs and store circulars come fast and furious.   I tend to ignore (or TRY to ignore) this assault on my senses and sales resistance.  So, while this week I’m meant to be dealing in shopping tips and tricks, you won’t find that in this post. 

I love buying gifts for the people I love.  I really love finding a special gift that lets a person know that I put a lot of thought and love into selecting something they would like, or at least find useful.  I love making gifts tailored to the tastes of my family and friends.  But, I do not love holiday shopping because it has so very little to do with any of these things. 

Holiday shopping has become such a high-pressure, fast-paced, take-no-prisoners atmosphere that it drains the holiday season of all those wonderful warm feelings people are supposed to be having.  Instead of holiday cheer, we have stampedes of customers trampling others in the pursuit of a toy for a five-year-old (who probably couldn’t care less).  Instead of goodwill toward men, we have lines of angry customers waiting at the mall.  Instead of peace on earth, we have tension headaches.

So, in a season of so much emphatic gift-buying and so little time spent with those we love (because we’re so busy buying things for them), perhaps we should shift our focus.  Maybe we shouldn’t be spending ourselves into debt.  Maybe we should be spending our time with loved ones instead.  

Life is, after all, short.  And, while I’m sure there are a few people who look back at the end of it and think, “If only I’d had that Play Station, my life would have been perfect.”  The majority probably wish they’d had more time to share with the people they love, more laughter with friends and more cozy dinners with family.  Why don’t we ever try to give each other these things?

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