Okay, okay it’s the holidays; time for eggnog and home-baked goodies, family and friends; time for good cheer and well-wishes, hugs and kisses, kids and Santa. It is also a time for reflection and introspection; for the religious it is the most sacred time, the time of commemoration of Jesus’ birth; time also for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Muharram, and Winter Solstice, for people who are not Christian. Even for the atheist and agnostic, it is a time when people should get together and enjoy each other’s company; a time when everyone is just a little nicer, a little more pleasant, a little more patient. Still, there are those out there who will try to make your holiday less pleasant than it should be.
There is the story of the Wal-Mart worker being trampled by an unruly “Black Friday” crowd in New York. There are stories of thieves and muggers preying on the blissfully unaware in mall parking lots. I’ve read the stories of evil doers around the country who will stop at nothing to take what is yours and make it theirs. Yes, I know there is evil in the world and we must all beware; but those evils are nothing when compared to the most insidious evil there is...the television commercial.
I get aggravated with all the commercials this time of year. Seems to be this is the time of year when we discover we cannot be happy unless we have that new car, jewelry, electric razor (seriously, does anyone think a razor is a good gift?), latest gadget, alcohol, sex (have you seen the Victoria’s Secret commercial, or for that matter Arby’s laughable attempt to sexualize their chicken cordon bleu sandwich?) I mute the idiot box when the commercials come on so I don’t have to hear yet another sound bite selling me something. I don’t need a GPS because I know how to read a map; I don’t need the latest whiz-bang, gee-whiz gizmo when I have perfectly working stuff I don’t use often enough now. Can somebody please stop the stupid “He went to Jared’s commercials”?
Seriously fellas, if your woman is going to go gaga because you went to THIS jewelry store chain instead of THAT jewelry store chain, it’s time to reexamine priorities, right? We are going to be bombarded with saccharin sweet, get me diamonds or else commercials until May. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day; how much jewelry does the human female really need anyway? Let’s look at it from another perspective; do we really need a new Lexus, Mercedes, Honda, F150 to make the holiday complete? With all the stories of economic downturns, financial hardships, bankruptcies, foreclosures among the woes of our society today do we REALLY NEED more stuff?
My wife and I made a pact years ago we would not go overboard with the Christmas presents every year. Yes, there was the occasional holiday season when she got earrings or a tennis bracelet and they were paid for before they were given (purchased at a LOCAL store, no chains) There is still the occasional holiday where there are one or two extravagant gifts, this one being the season of the motorcycle lift for yours truly (YES!!!) But, for the most part, we keep our spending in check this time of year. This year we decided to do more for our fellow man as our Christmas gifts…a check to the local food bank and maybe an angel off the tree of needy seniors or kids and Christmas cards to the troops; baked goodies to the neighbors and the occasional bottle of wine or 12-pack of premium beer. I am not trying to toot our own horn here, just trying to extol a little common sense and sanity during a crazy time of year. By all means, if you can afford it, splurge on the big gifts or give big to charity but please don’t go broke!
Try to remember the men and women in our Armed Forces as well. A lot of them are a long way off putting their lives on the line to protect us and keep us free. If you are the praying sort, put a good word in with the Man upstairs to keep them safe and bring them home, ok? If you’re not the praying sort, keep them in your thoughts, wish them well and hope for their safe return. No matter your political or religious views, they are over there giving you the greatest gift any human can give another. Remember that and thank a veteran when you meet them. Everybody have a wonderful holiday season and a healthy wealthy and Happy New Year.