Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dematerializing Christmas

It absolutely boggles my mind at the number of sale catalogs I have already received.  Each one of them insists that they have the best deal on everything I need.  This year more then others it feels like companies are making a grander attempt at trying to make me believe that if I don't get what they are selling, I am missing out.  Here is the kicker though - I, an admitted shopaholic, am disgusted.  The mass consumerism is too much.  There are over 400,000 children living in foster care in the US.  There are close to 700,000 homeless people in the US.  There are countries with no drinking water, and no access to medical care or food.  There are children being sold and bought as playthings for adults.  And companies wants to try to tell me I need a Santa doll that dances the hula?  Seriously?

My family isn't hard off.  My husbands job meets the needs of our family.  We have a roof over our head, electricity, food, water and clothes.  We don't want for much.  But each year we look through the ads and convince ourselves that we need more.  Not this year.  This year we have looked at each other and struggled to convince ourselves that need anything else.  At this point we've decided that we are going to get a new washer and dryer, not because we want them, but because our current ones are a step away from being nonfunctional and you can usually get a good deal on Black Friday.  But we recognize even that, is a luxury.

We've made some bold decisions this year, perhaps not bold to others, but bold for us because it goes against what we, and those around us, are used to.  We haven't made the decision because we are cheap, or because we can't afford to.  We've done it because we feel that the right thing to do is to not feed into the monster of excess, the one that keeps our kids, and us, feeling entitled .  We've decided to pare down big time on the gifts for the kids.  We are going to only be giving one gift to each of our extended family members with whom we regularly exchange gifts.  We will be increasing our donation to Samaritan's Purse, collecting non perishable items to donate to local food pantries, and visiting with individuals in nursing homes.  It's a change, we hope, in the right direction.

I want to make it clear that this blog isn't an attempt to make anyone feel guilty, or like they have to make the same choices.  I am no better then any person reading this.  We, as a family, are just trying to make some different choices, and, hopefully learn a bit more about ourselves in the process.      



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