Saturday, November 25, 2006

open thread commentary

the holidays have a way of making folks think about family and things that are important to them. nothing wrong with that. i do it too and i think that is partly the reason that we have holidays to begin with. i have been thinking quite a bit about the holidays this year- i think that we tend to do things on automatic pilot- as is true with our daily lives too. why do we do the things that we do? why do we consider what we do important? if the holidays are viewed as an extra burden, why do we still do them? what is it that we are celebrating? how many of us celebrate in america anyway? probably quite a few considering the stores are now considering staying open on the actual holidays to continue reaping out of this world profit margins. are we about greed? i look around where i live- probably close to mainstream america. we are a small city bounded by rural farmland and overall conservative folks live here. what do i see? lots of poor folks with a smattering of middle class and some upper class folks. what are the poor folks thankful for? what are the rich folks thankful for? i would hazard a guess- the same things. what is it about the american holidays that compel us to participate? other places in the world celebrate similar holidays in very different ways- why are we so materialistic with ours? is it because we don't know how to be any other way- or because we choose not to?

12 comments:

charlie said...

Greed, yes. Fear too. Mostly it's an automatic pilot activity - social norms have a terrible grip on everybody, Thanksgiving being no exception. Social action is simply a web of social norms. They are comforting and are a substitute for thought.

Donnie McDaniel said...

Greed is the major driving force of the holidays. T-Day just got over and watch how soon we will be bombarded with ads on TV and songs on the radio. Still a month to go till the holiday that people lie to their kids comes around. But just watch what happens in just a few days!

Luring you in to buy plenty of gifts for the kids so you can tell the lie one more year that there is a santa. Then when the kid is older and you try to reason with them, you just have to remember why they don't believe you. How the hell do those corporate heads sleep at night?

betmo said...

i like the myth of santa claus. it is a fairy tale that unfortunately has been corrupted by retail. that's why i bake cookies :)

John Good said...

I keep finding that I get into a routine and sometimes let the important things slip by. Luckily I get a wake-up call every now and then. Sometimes the "important" things aren't the ones that seem so at the moment. . .

EAPrez said...

What I like most about Thanksgiving is that it means in a month - all this nonsense will be over for another year. I am sickened by the pursuit of "stuff" that is our culture. We consume more than any country on the planet and are oblivious to the impact. That people would stand in line, in the cold and wrestle for a video game is shameful. That stores are no longer satisfied to open the day after Thanksgiving - here they opened on Thanskgiving some waited until midnight. When I drove home from my sisters Thanksgiving I saw people lined up at Circuit City at 11:30. Two of my sisters went to the outlet mall for their 'midnight event' and traffic was backed up for 10 miles in both directions - so they came back. It's very sad people would stand in line for 'stuff' It's because our country is run by corporations - not the people. We are a nation of very shallow people. I loathe the holidays.

Frederick said...

All I know is when I finally get a day off from work, I don't over anylze it too much. Sure as hell didn't see me out and about on Black Friday either.

Anonymous said...

Traditions are like those old, friendly slippers, and that raggedy housecoat. You know you should probably change....but why?:) "Comfort zones" are just that.

Yes, I firmly believe we are becoming much more greedy and materialistic. And as that happens, we are becoming shallower. I was reading yesterday of some store that opened at 9 PM Thanksgiving day! I really don't understand greed, to be honest. The person that has $600 to blow on an Xbox probably isn't hurting for too many other things; multimillionaires that feel the need to cheat, lie, and steal (Ken Lay comes to mind) for yet MORE money confound me. What....the....hell....for?????

When we die, will the person with the biggest toy, win?

Sarah said...

Needless to say, the true meaning of Christmas has been lost in greedy capitalism.

betmo said...

it is quite unfortunate that many children will grow up with the 'traditions' of reservations for xmas dinner and a mountain of gifts for the greedy. they will know that mom stands in line at 4am on the day after thanksgiving to get those toys- and that whether they are thankful or good or not- they will receive, receive, receive.

Anonymous said...

My wife is in retail, and she sees the greed every year. I see the same greed from a different perspective - from the fools willing to break out into fisticuffs over a parking space, to the ones ready to victimize you because society went wrong for them somewhere.

Were does most of the crap bought during the holidays go? I can tell you that my wife and I end up re-gifting some, giving some to charity and probably 1% stays with us because it actually has a practical use.

I tell friends and family, unless it's something we actually asked for, then give us money, no gift cards, just money. Cash at least can be donated at every street corner or in front of most department stores this time of year.

spadoman said...

It is such a dichotomy for me. I hate the greed and the commercialism. I loved it as a child, and was brought up thinking that it's suppose to be this way. Now, I know differently, but society is winning this battle.

I have Grandkids who want things. My dream of dreams is that they want to give as much, if not more, than they receive. Spouse and I try to lead by example in this area, but it hasn't caught on yet to the kids.

Corporate greed and societies ills 1
Spadoman 0

Still, the gift giving season or whatever you celebrate at this time of year is a time when the family gets together. It's not totally greed, so I'll take a half point for that part of it.

landsker said...

The winter holiday? The festive season? The mid-winter festival? The time of giving gifts? Christmas?
To be honest, I think in our "western world", it has become an exercise in marketing, a chance for the power of advertising to persuade us to spend money on mostly redundant artefacts of consumerism that, within a few weeks, are either broken or unwanted.
Of course, the manufacturers and sellers of the festive cr*p are by then counting their profits.

Looking at the other comments here, I sense that most are tired of the "make-believe", the illusion of happiness.
A few generations from now, it may be different.