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Friday, December 24, 2004

Consumer Christmas, or Pretty (Useless)

Nothing screams capitalism like the American Christmas. I find myself constantly arguing with people offended by presumably Christian Santas or carols that Santas and most carols are not, in fact, Christian, but Capitalism-ian. Speaking of carols, I had my first-ever holiday meltdown in the car driving home from work yesterday. As Johnny Mathis asserted in a perky croon that It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, I realized that my holiday season resembled little of the parties for hosting, marshmallows for roasting, and carolling out in the snow, and much more the office so busy, I leave my work dizzy, oh Lord, it's a three-ee day week, please help me get it done, I have no time for fun, and school starts again in two weeeeeeeeeeeeeeks. I prefer June.

But oh, the flourishing of useless, pretty crap we give each other this time of year. It's the fragrance ads that get me. Ever have the feeling that they were designed entirely by and for the gay male population? The Dior commercial looks like gay porn: all wet male abs and closeups of a pretty boy face. Even more ridiculous is the Poison ad. An undernourished, over-eye-make-up-ed woman and an animated black panther slink toward a pedestal crowned with a bottle of the purfume. They're about tied in their race, until the woman swipes the great cat with her nails, emerging victorious as the animal-winner of the fragrance-prize. Then they get to the price for these dinky bottles of stink: a $75 value for only $57.95. The most I spent on a gift this year was $40. And that was the sole gift for that person.

Makes me want to convert to Judaism and Socialism. Where's the recruiting center? Do I get a cash bonus for joining?...No? That's not how other traditions work, you say? Well. In the meantime I'll have to cheer myself up with this early Christmas present from Greg. It's wonderful and you should treat yourself to a copy, especially if you found yourself nodding at this rant. What? You say it's just more holiday crap to buy? Well, if you can't beat 'em, laugh at 'em.


Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Things I (try to) do to avoid the Christmas Fu to which you refer:

1. Bake. Finding the time and/or energy to do so can be difficult, but it makes the living space smell wonderful, and people (smart people, anyway) are always touched by a loaf of bread or a plate of cookies that you made yourself. the bread, in particular. I have a recipe that makes four loaves, and it's very pretty bread, so I often give away two-three of the loaves.

2. Avoid television like the plague. Avoid advertising of any kind, as much as possible. Shop online, preferably ahead of time (lower shipping charges) to avoid the madness in stores. Even avoid cards--write a personal note on blank cards instead.

3. Remember the main rule of gift-giving: try to get a person something he/she would like, not something you want him/her to like. A scratch list in the back of your appointment calendar, started in January, can help with this.

4. Breathe. Preferably in a yoga class, but anywhere will do.

Of course, I don't do all of these myself--it's so much easier to tell other people what to do! But definitely ignore the advertising, etc., as much as possible.

p.s. Have a wonderful holiday--whichever ones you celebrate.

4:39 PM  

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