December 2, 2010

The commercial frenzy of Christmas

Normally, when you pull up my blog, you will undoubtedly find a photo and recipe of a delicious sweet treat. Well, today I am taking a little break from the norm and going off course just a bit. I promise you, I will not stay off track for fact, tomorrow I plan to share a recipe with you called "Six Spice Oatmeal Cookies". I promise you, you will adore them! Until then, I have a little something that I would like to get off my chest and I was wondering if you might feel the same way I do.
Here goes:

Each year, as I watch Christmas commercials, it amazes me how much hype and frenzy is shoved down our throats by major retailers. I mean, I get it that companies are desperate to make money...I get it that they are all in competition...I get it...but still, I can't believe how ridiculous it is!

I have nothing against shopping. I have nothing against buying Christmas presents...for the ones you really love and cherish as a way of giving them a gesture of appreciation. I have nothing against Christmas trees and twinkling lights. In fact, that's all really very fun. However, what I am irritated about is how AGGRESSIVE the campaign for shopping and spending gross amounts of money has become.
Of course, we all know, it's been this way for some time. It just amazes me how the retail industry uses commercials to psychologically try to make people think that they are REALLY MISSING out if they don't get to their store, and fast, to HURRY UP and fill up an entire cart full of merchandise. Hurry, hurry, time is running out. For what? Why would we have to feverishly make large purchases to show our family and friends that this is how we love them. Clearly the message here is SHOP, SHOP, SPEND, SPEND, BUY, BUY! It is kind of if we are all mindless drones willing to obey the underlying message of "GIVE US YOUR MONEY, WE DON'T CARE IF YOU HAVE BILLS, AS LONG AS WE MAKE OUR QUOTA!"

First of all, what I'm thinking here is...for the majority of the people in this country, there's a limit to their spending during the Christmas season. Even if you have saved a nice little chunk of change for the holiday, who do you know that WANTS to mindlessly spend hundreds of dollars on things that may or may not even be useful to the person receiving it. Retailers obviously know that America is in a recession...of COURSE they know...I'm thinking the best way for them to get us to part with our hard earned cash is to use ads that LOOK as if EVERYONE is out there spending with wild abandon, buying up every toy and sweater and electric razor they can get their hands on. Retailers are using the age old tactic of "everyone's doing it!" I'm sure it's easy to get sucked into this vacuum, after all just look at the families in the commercials. Everyone is smiling, there eyes are twinkling...the moms and dads in the commercials are gorgeous, dressed in new winter coats with hats and scarves that coordinate perfectly...their children are adorably dressed, well behaved and buying gifts for Grandma because of course, they are only thinking of others and not themselves. Oh wait, don't forget that shiny new forest green Range Rover they all go running happily back to....cause that's an affordable car for a family of 6.

For real people?!?!
I ask you, is this an accurate portrayal of how it really goes down?

Ok, as I am writing this, I am wondering how many of you will find me cynical. I don't mean to come across this way...I just wanted to express my feeling of...of...of, I don't know, what is this feeling...disgust? Maybe that's too strong a word, but then again maybe it's not.

Hey...look...right there, you just knew I couldn't get through a post without a cookie recipe!

Ok, focus!

Having said all that, I can assure you, we ABSOLUTELY celebrate Christmas in our house! Our children WILL have presents under the tree. My husband and I WILL go Christmas shopping. And yes, it's fun to tuck away gifts from children's searching's fun to buy the perfect give for the ones you love. The house WILL be filled with Christmas music throughout the month of December...and the Christmas cookies WILL be coming out of my oven on a regular basis. I regard myself as a fairly normal person who enjoys Christmas just as much as the next person. I have a feeling that a lot of people feel the same way I do.

However, I will be taking the time to talk with my children about the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it. I will read to them the story of Christmas...and that special night...long ago, when Christ our saviour was born.

I know that all of you know the true meaning of Christmas...I don't have to tell you. I'll just leave you with this.

Luke 2:10-14
...the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men
with whom He is pleased."