'Tis the season to break the bank?
This year I am becoming Ebenezer Scrooge or at least embodying the spirit of this favorite Dickens’ character. Bah humbug and all that. I have had it with the holiday rush, the pressure, and the ‘tis the season to buy-buy-buy commercials. Call me Ms. Scrooge and I won’t be insulted. Let me have my gruel and a bowl of hot punch and I’ll be fine. At the very least I won’t be broke.
Old Ebenezer Scrooge may have had it right all along about the annoyance of the Christmas season and he didn't even have to put up with televised commercials like we do in the 21st century. He was called a miser but was he really? Who had the right to tell the old guy how he should spend his money and on what or even whom? He may have gone overboard in the cheapskate department but it was his money. Imagine if he was around now with all the push to spend money. Granted he should have been more charitable but still…
I’m tired of the festive lights strung through towns beginning the day after Halloween, of stores pushing ridiculously expensive items to kids, of everyday normal prices sky-rocketing just because a holiday is coming; of everything geared to spend, spend, spend. But hell, we can pay it off monthly, right? That’s what the stores, credit card companies, and Madison Avenue are telling us. Well, as far as debt goes, Mr. Scrooge had another way of looking at the feeding frenzy of the season. When told to jolly up and get in the spirit of the season like others did
"What’s Christmas-time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older and not an hour richer, a time for balancing your books and having every item in them a round dozen of months presented dead against you."
Ol’ Ebenezer had a way with words he did. Being broke for the next 12 months has a way of placing a damper on the holiday Yule log.
The TV ads are the worst. At a time when many people are lucky to be able to pay the mortgage and buy food, we’re bombarded by advertising which shows us what we should have but which realistically, most can’t. One commercial in particular, put out by Lexus with THAT music playing in the background, shows wealthy couples in their Town and Country type digs go rushing outside to see a brandy-new Lexus tied with a big red bow. Oh, joy! You bought me an expensive car! Just what I wanted! Isn’t it great to be rich? Merry Christmas!
It’s supposed to be a feel good moment, sure, but it totally misses the point which is that, hardly anyone this holiday season can afford this special and wildly expensive gift. The sight makes me want to echo Scrooge again when he said, “Every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' (or says,“Hey honey, I bought you a Lexus as a Christmas present”), on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart!" Indeed!
It isn’t that I dislike the season so much; I used to really enjoy it. It’s just that it seems to begin in mid-October, with the unremitting pressure of gift choosing and buying and a good four months before Christmas the stores are selling decorations!
The “He went to Jared’s”, the “Every kiss begins with Kay”, are slammed at us over and over again in all media. We can’t escape it. The problem is that if we don’t go to Jared’s or Kay’s, or buy the person we love that expensive Lexus, we are supposed to feel as if we somehow don’t measure up to the generosity of the season. That above all else gets to me. We’re being told what we should buy and how to spend our money by companies who will most certainly profit at our expense, literally.
Is money the new symbol of the spirit of Christmas? It is beginning to look that way.
We’ve lost something along the way as far as any holiday season goes. If our likeability is going to be based on how much money we spend on another person, then we’ve got a problem that will not go away any time soon. It will just get worse with each new season. The biggest toys, the most expensive car, the highest-priced jewelry, etc., etc. is a poor excuse for the spirit of Christmas.
If any Christmas spirits intend to pay this Scrooge a nocturnal visit on December 24, I ask only two things from them. Let the real spirit of Christmas, the kindness, the peace, and love return. And put an end to those damned annoying commercials!
Okay Spirits, I’m ready. Let’s get this over so you can turn me into a lovable Tiny Tim and I can truly say, “God bless us, everyone!”
© 2011 Copyright Kristen Houghton
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