Happy "Gimme!" Days, One and All

Christmas problem

Article by Garrett Will
Everyone but devout Muslims and the most Orthodox of Jews, and even the scrooges walking (and lurking, hiding, bumbling, and gurgling) amongst us loves the holidays. It's a time of joy, of getting together with those you love and care about, to appreciate the fruits of life. Turkey dinners are on the menu, party crackers are popping the eardrums of old folks everywhere, tinsel and lights contribute to the rising problem of light pollution, and perhaps best of all, the latest gizmos and gadgets fly off the shelves in droves. People get trampled, get shot at or stabbed in lineups, children and hopelessly addicted nerds cry like banshees, and grandmas suffer heart failure from all the pressure of what to buy their grandkids; but none of that is a big deal. What about the rampant greed and lunacy that breaks out like an annual case of bad ACNE in time for the holidays?

The Xbox 360 sells like hotcakes each year that the Call of Duty franchise gets recycled with a new title, just in time for the beginning of the holiday shopping cycle. Gamers and pressured parents stand outside of game retailers in line for the midnight launch, eager to get a copy of a rehashed game. Fake or not, the photos that get released of the hordes of desperate buyers, of those two particular product lines, paint a grim picture. One could easily blame the commercial sector for the problem, and theyíre certainly not innocent in playing their role, but isnít there a much larger, more cohesive element that sparks this phenomenon? Iím talking about society, people. Jesus H. Murphy folks, get a grip.

Some of you who are reading this right now are all too familiar with the subliminal messaging driven into our minds that if you donít get your family the best trending gifts, then youíre doing it all wrong. Isnít there something decidedly unethical about poisoning the best parts of the holidays with this message? Itís hard to disagree when you consider the effects it produces. There are people who even commit suicide because they feel inadequate from not satisfying the material desires of their family, especially their children. Or at least, they feel that they wonít be able to. What kind of a holiday is that?

Why people feel the need to compete with one another in what amounts to "who is the more commercial-friendly family on the block" is anyone's guess.
Bragging rights are also a seemingly standard by-product of the holiday fervor, often in the form of decorations on property fronts and the like. Letís keep in mind the honest-to-goodness people displaying lights and props for simple holiday cheer Ė the ones who do it to stand out in a neighborhood are often doing for bragging rights (not always, but usually). Why people feel the need to compete with one another in what amounts to "who is the more commercial-friendly family on the block" is anyone's guess. Though perhaps itís as deeply rooted as men feel the need to flex their tools to see who is the most adequate. Well, letís not go there.

The holidays should be about sentimentality, not material goods and how much you have. The measure of a man is said to be his family, or the experiences heís had, not if he has the latest Apple mobile device for every soul in his household. Sit down and relax, have a toast with your close relatives, appreciate the fact that youíre alive and not rotting away on the street like many people are right now, put together crafts from the bottom of your hearts, and place a personal ban on visiting a big box store that hypnotizes you into buying yourself into unnecessary debt.

Itís saddening to see the "Gimme!" attitude running amok amongst the more impressionable and inexperienced of us. After all, we eventually grow weary of the objects we buy. Yet the cycle continues next year and more people get trampled to death trying to nab what few products there are available on store shelves. Each year a handful of idiots rob stores and get arrested, imprinting a taboo on their records for the rest of their lives. Each year we hear of grandmothers trying to put smiles on their children with gifts, who end up in hospitals instead due to cardiac arrest. And each year, relaxed folk sit around the dinner table having a gay old time, scratching their heads at how silly and even insane people can get over the holidays.

Happy "Gimme!" Days, Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, or whatever floats your boat. Donít let the shopping mall door hit your ass on the way out. Hope you enjoy your current model iPad you had to shell out over half a thousand dollars for; youíll have to make do with it until the next model comes out in half a year.

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