|Posted by sean berry on December 27, 2011 at 2:35 PM|
Now that the snow has settled and the gifts have been unwrapped, we are all high on holiday joy. The gift of giving is an expensive high and many of us will be paying well into next year for the holiday cheer we felt yesterday. The Pope decreed Christmas “Glitter” and there’s few among us who wouldn’t agree that this holiday has become increasingly commercialized. The world is changing and how we express things to one another has changed too. We are a capitalist society and therefore on some level a lot of us stand to profit by over spending.
Unfortunately, many will have put themselves into debt already thanks to credit cards or simply foregoing paying certain bills to make sure little Johnny had his fire truck this year. Life is about sacrifice and whether it’s the shirt off your back or no shirts for the next three months, people are very much willing to go without so someone can get something. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one of those people as I have a stack of bills eyeing me suspiciously as I type this blog. If they could talk, they might say, “I like what you got for your girlfriend, but what about me? The water bill? You don’t like my water or something?! Not good enough for you to pay for??” I will pay you shortly, I think to myself, but I know I should have paid you earlier.
It seems we are a slave to our bad habits and as companies learn more about us they begin to find ways to exploit our inherent weaknesses. We all want those happy times on television where everyone opens the gifts they have been longing for and what a thrill it is to stack your shopping cart full of shit you wouldn’t normally even contemplate during the rest of the year. I think if Christmas is going to be so much about giving, then we ought to split it into two holidays: Christmas I and Christmas II. Not twice the gifts, no my greedy readers, but one holiday split into two so we don’t go broke trying to afford one. We need more stores with layaway options or banks with useful saving programs which would invest a certain percentage of a person’s deposits into a savings fund.
Since we are no longer hunter/gatherers we have become consumer/spenders and since the world around us molds to this vision and trend, we have to make a choice to go with the flow or find a way to fight the tide. Many people shop in advance or put money away but for the most part, people are pretty frivolous with their cash and thanks to December 25th, many debt collectors will continue to have a job for the rest of the years to come. It is sort of depressing to think like that but with so many people in the same mess it begs one to wonder is this mess our ultimate destruction or will we find a way to profit off it as a whole? People don’t want to see the rich get richer, but really, when the rich get richer, a lot of people tend to make more money.
In my town in particular, the only money to be made is in some kind of service industry. In the old days, people use to take care of their own shit, we didn’t have the level of ultra-specialization that exists nowadays, but nowadays if you don’t do something that someone else wants to do, you have to offer a service that no one else does. The internet is killing a lot of businesses because it negates the need for as many employees and eliminates in some cases people having to even leave their house. I wonder if jobs are like matter in the universe, in the sense that they cannot be destroyed only transformed, so for every machine that takes the place of a cashier, another technician is required to work on it. I’m no fool though; I can see the hard times getting harder for many and I myself feel the crunch.
Christmas is indeed a wonderful holiday but at its core it creates a pressure on many people to do things outside their means. Some will argue that we should have more self control and it wouldn’t be an issue, but I think there also needs to be some culpability on the part of creditors who often times grant credit to people who don’t have the finances to be responsible in their use. A box of chocolates from someone means much the same as a videogame, any gift from another to me shows they were thinking of me and with a world of over 6 billion people, it’s nice to be recognized as someone special among the crowd. So go broke, go simple, go frugal or go hum bug, but the holidays are to be celebrated or shunned at our discretion.