18 November 2007

The War on Thanksgiving

About a week and a half ago a Christmas tree popped up in the living room of one of our neighbors. In what can only be a Yuletide arms race, that person's next door neighbor soon decorated his balcony with all kinds of Christmas lights. I can understand why profit-motivated retailers push the holidays earlier and earlier every year, but what compels an individual to do so? Why, when there are still the carcasses of smashed jack-o-lanterns scattered on the streets does someone decide to decorate a Christmas tree the first week of November? And what about Thanksgiving? It is perhaps the loveliest of holidays. It is a shame to skip over it and move right on to the next one.



It could be that we have become a nation of children, unable to delay any gratification and expecting everyday to be Christmas. Or maybe we are a nation of bored, boring, individuals that need shiny objects and blinking lights to feel something. Or maybe we are a nation of Orange County Housewives, whose only goal in life seems to be to shop. Other than a supersized grocery cart, Thanksgiving doesn't really require us to buy anything. Although, it does, of course give us the day after Christmas shopping frenzy. Financial responsibility evangelist Suze Orman has been saying for years that Americans are driving themselves to the poorhouse buying things to impress people that they don't know or don't like. I agree, but would add that our addiction to shopping is not just about impressing others, but it appears that shopping is all we know how to do.



Don't get me wrong, I can really enjoy a good shopping trip. And the other Mr. MyPorch and I don't really want for anything. But what troubles me is how so many people predicate their happiness on a daily basis on the act of consumption and a constant state of personal reward. Just like the Christmas season, why can't the joy of shopping be one of many diverse things that makes us happy throughout the year? How about a little balance? To every thing, turn, turn, turn.

2 comments:

  1. I discovered last year, much to my delight, that I really do still like Christmas. For a while there I thought I had grown to hate it, which is admittedly sad. The thing is, I like it for about one week. I like seeing the faerie lights and other decorations, and the music, and some of the family traditions. It should just not drag on for months - that just spoils it, and takes away from its special-ness.

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  2. Maybe we decorate early to get it out of the way. We tend to be so busy that there just isn't enough hours or days to get it all done. Maybe we feel the world wants us to live up to something.

    Shopping, buying, trying to outdo each other is the world we seem to live in.

    I attended a birthday party for a four year old last week. I can not believe the size and dollar amount to the gifts. And this is from friends. Grandparents and Great Grandpareents didn't even get an honorable mention.

    What is Christmas going to be like.

    Ernie in Peoria

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