Halloween is over now and even before Halloween came, a really big reality set in…. We are only months away from Christmas. Going into the local stores, I realized Christmas decorations going up right around Labor Day. It seems that the stores skipped the other holidays in between to go straight for the BIG ONE. Thanksgiving has been mentioned but mainly for the Black Friday ads. Christmas tree decor, wreaths, stockings and the whole lot have been in full bloom for about 2 months now.
Even for Thanksgiving, I have noticed that more and more stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day. It seems as if there is a competition on who can open the earliest. In my younger years, I worked for a very short time as a manager of a MAJOR retail company. I would have to be at the store at about 3 am on Black Friday and it amazed me at the spectacle that people made of themselves on this day. Tripping over each other, running as if they were in an Olympic race and not only running, but with two shopping carts….Can you imagine that? Both business and consumers have taken this holiday to a level that seems to have clouded our perceptions and our judgement.
As I raise my first child my dilemma is how to teach him about the true meaning of Christmas and how not to commercialize it as much as society continues to do. How do I talk to him to help him to realize that all of the gifts that he sees are not as important as the true meaning of Christmas? How do I explain it to a 3 or 4 year old, when all of his friends have the newest and most recent toys and he doesn’t?
It seems as though consumerism is driven by the companies and sometimes we are “manipulated” into things just to satisfy our children so that they do not feel “left out”. However, should materialistic “things” cause a child to feel less than? I guess that I can answer that. It shouldn’t, but at times it does.