Christmas in a Materialistic Society

Published: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 8, 2007 at 2:45 p.m.

If this years’ Christmas break could have a theme, it would be materialism. I was simply overwhelmed by the growth of desire in our nation. It would seem that the meaning of peace, love, selflessness, and joy has been lost in gadgets and the latest fads and toys. People seem more selfish today than they did ten years ago. It never really occurred to me how much the media has to do with this new phenomenon.

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AP Photo/ Susan Pfannmuller

Advertisements seem to go out earlier and earlier every year, each company trying to outsell the other with hopes of making the most profit. Children who watch television or see ads on the Internet are the first ones to be sucked into this vortex of materialistic greed. They will cry, kick, and scream to insure that their parents get them what they want.

Consider the day when Playstations’ new PS3 system went on sale in the stores. Parents, grandparents, and game gurus alike braved the long lines, pushing, and the overbearing feet of impatient consumers willing to kill, if necessary, to get that device.

The closer Christmas came, the worse the greed got. The Friday after Thanksgiving was dubbed “Black Friday” because it has been known as the largest shopping day in history. As the Christmas season rolled around, no longer were Americans civilized human beings but we had transformed into greedy individuals almost overnight.

We became willing to get up at 3 a.m. to wait in the parking lots of town malls just to make sure that we were the first ones in the stores to get the “door buster” prices waiting at Department stores like Macy’s and JC Penny’s. Then Christmas came and we opened presents and another day went by…

I remember going to the Chelsea Premium Outlet mall in Orlando, Florida two days after Christmas and I was shocked to see that people were still shopping as if the clothing was going out of style. Granted everyone loves sales but this strip mall housed some of the worlds’ most famous European designers (and Pac Sun®) along with their world famous prices.

I found myself able to afford only a couple of items from Banana Republic™ (where I normally do not shop). Gucci, Prada, Dior, Salvatore, and Donald J Pliner with his $285 pair of sling backs were all too rich for my not-so-rich blood, yet people continued to shop and lay out $500 on a Coach bag that was probably not entirely leather.

I am not saying that the creative geniuses behind this market revolution should go un-rewarded for all of the late night planning sessions at the office but what I am saying is that if we as a society spent half the time, money, and energy on issues other than the latest fashion, this world would be so much better.

The children in Africa and other third world countries would have a place to sleep at night, perhaps divorces due to “irreconcilable differences” would decrease because couples would have the time to sit down and talk out these “differences” instead of using a credit card or possessions to solve their problems.

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