I wanted to share my thoughts on the commercialism that is Christmas.
The holiday season - Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, whatever you call it, is about sharing your time with loved ones, and a good meal or two (or three). It is NOT about who spends the most, who has the biggest pile of gifts, or who got the most Christmas cards.
Alas, the power of advertising has won. Our children are bombarded with toy ads via television and internet. Stores have all of their toy displays right up front and centre in some places (hello Walmart). We hear ads on the radio, see them on buses, and on and on. Santa has become the central theme in Christian and secular Christmas celebrations - ask 10 kids what Christmas means and I guarantee you they'll all mention Santa before anything else.
"There's nothing I can do," you say? Limit your kids' television viewing, get a PVR and fast-forward through the commercials, don't bring the Sears Catalogue into your house, recycle store fliers before your kids see them, and most importantly, change your own way of thinking. Does your 4 year old REALLY need 50 presents? Does he NEED that shiny plastic toy that he'll play with for 3 days and then discard in favour of the next new item? Does she need 15 dolls that all look the same that (of course) have entire lines of clothing and accessories that you must purchase in order for your child's life to be complete?
My challenge for you this year: buy simple, handmade (if possible) toys and clothing. Avoid plastic toys that limit your child's imagination. Think of some pieces of material, perhaps dyed (a family project) in different colours. These scarves can transform into capes, grass, a flag, part of a fort, and on and on. The possibilities are endless. Another idea is to make Christmas gifts. Everyone loves fudge, cookies, peanut brittle, quickbreads! Crochet some scarves and caps! Wrap the gift in some lovely paper or a cute little box they can reuse-this is personal and shows the receiver that you care enough to spend time creating his gift.
Fight commercialism! Save your money! Spread the love! Enjoy your family and friends this year!