These last few weeks I’ve been feeling weird about Christmas time. (or Holiday time if you do not celebrate Christmas) A holiday all about giving, buying, and more buying. This holiday tradition has been molded by capitalist societies to equate to spending as much money as you can around this time of year, starting with Black Friday, all throughout December, right until Boxing Day. But why must we prove our love for others by buying things? To feed into corporate greed? To continue giving our money to people who are higher up on the economical ladder?
I guess I’ve just been feeling down lately because I realize how consumer driven our society is. We use this time of year as an excuse to be “festive” and “giving”, when in reality, we all just go out to the stores and buy as much as we can, for ourselves and for others.
A few different people have asked me what I wanted to Christmas this year, and honestly, I don’t want anything. I feel so greedy and needy asking for/buying things that I do not need. I am constantly thinking about people in other parts of the world who have nothing, yet still manage to be happy, whereas in Westernized societies, people spend thousands of dollars on material items and are still unhappy.
Hmmm, I wonder why that is? Perhaps because money can’t buy happiness. And no amount of cars, clothes, houses, make-up, phones, television sets, and toys will amount to happiness.
This Christmas, I couldn’t just ask for nothing, because my family wants to give me something as a present. I didn’t want to ask for things that I want, because want is just a greedy term. I want this. I want that. Instead, I asked for things that I actually need and would be useful in my everyday life. So I asked for a laptop case, because I’ve literally been putting my laptop in a pillow case for a year, books, and a vegan tshirt. That’s it.
Our society has let greed consume us and we find ourselves constantly asking for more. Consumerism takes over this time of year, and I feel like people get carried away and swept into it all.
I was out shopping today (I literally go to the mall twice a year..) trying to find gifts for friends and family. It was so difficult and I didn’t know what to buy them and I also didn’t want to spend too much money, because well, I hate spending money. And then I thought, why can’t we all give each other things without buying them? Without giving into corporate power and consumerism? We all have the abilities to make things ourselves and create something useful that the person needs. Or we could do favours for people.
I personally love giving and receiving homemade gifts. I’ve also made my own birthday/christmas cards for people because they feel more personal and special. It takes zero effort to buy a card from the store and sign it. That doesn’t feel special to me.
I like crafting my own gifts, even if I’m not that talented. You could make picture frames, write a poem for that person, draw them a photo of something they love, write them a song, make them a mix-tape, cook them a special meal, bake them their favourite cake, bring them an already-made dinner to their house when you know they have a busy day; the little things like that actually matter and would be useful to someone in their everyday lives. I hate participating in materialistic culture of buying clothes, make-up, electronics, and other unnecessary nick-nacks that people could easily live without. $200 watch? No thanks, I can look at my phone to see the time. Designer hand bag? No thanks, I can use a reusable bag to carry my things. Expensive makeup and hand creams? Nah, I don’t wear any, and I got coconut oil.
I am by no means trying to make people feel bad for buying and wanting these things; I’m simply trying to make you THINK about what you are participating in, and why you are doing so. It is 100% because of the way this society has raised us, and how this culture and industries have shaped a holiday into a consumerist time of year. And it makes me sad.