I was reading Nick's post about the seasonal consumer binge and "Buy Nothing Day". Then I pulled up an ABC Online video through Yahoo about "holiday rage". Now that's quite a term, isn't it? Nothing new, just a new buzzword for the rudeness, depression, and crass consumerism that overcomes people this season.
It's really a vicious cycle, isn't it? I mean, the only way to stop the insanity is to start with yourself, and stop participating in and supporting the things you hate. We have gotten much better over the years but are still not guilt-free. Even though I don't personally celebrate Christmas or any other holiday in December, I am trapped in the cycle. There is a very small number of people who we exchange gifts (and/or cards) with this month, mostly Mr. B's family and friends, and one mutual friend.
On Black Friday we didn't exactly "buy nothing". We went to an indie record store and bought 3 CDs, 2 copies of one released that day and one that was released earlier in the week... soooo, yes, even though we supported no chain stores we actually "bought something" including one gift. We always give our friend in Wyoming a copy of the KGSR Broadcast CD that's released on the day after Thanksgiving. He can't get it up there unless he does mail order and we are happy to provide -- besides it keeps us in touch with him -- it forces us to write each other once a year. (Besides, the proceeds go to charity) So we always send him that, plus a little something for his cat, and he does the same for us.
As for Mr. Bs family, we have established a tradition of sending them something we created through Cafepress. In past years, it's been coffee mugs with our picture on them. This year it's even better, it's a calendar so there's even more pictures of us!! Oh joy!! What's not to like about that!?! It's also even better because they can throw it away at the end of next year without feeling guilty (not so with a coffee mug). heh heh... Also, it's easier than knitting everyone a butt-ugly sweater that doesn't even fit. (Riiight, as if I knit!!! Haven't ever knitted anything more complicated than a belt.) A personalized item from Cafepress will cost probably $10-$20 depending on what it is, and people aren't satisfied with a gift like that, then I have to wonder what they think all this gift-giving frenzy is really about. If people are using each other to get stuff, that is a sick and dysfunctional situation.
But to get back on track of the original subject, this whole cycle of ugly consumerism will not slow down until each person participates in slowing it down. It doesn't have to stop, it just needs to become sane again.
And puh-lease don't try telling me it's about the baby Jesus. That's been debunked. And if it's about baby Jesus for you, why not help out some needy people instead of trying to impress someone who doesn't need anything? You can't buy love. Never could.
Tags: Black Friday - Austin - holiday