No matter which holiday you celebrate this season, the most important part is supposed to be taking time out of our busy schedules to enjoy some quality time with our families and friends. If corporations had their way, we wouldn’t take any time to spend with those closest to us; we would just shop and ship gifts off to “show how much we care,” and the more we spend, the more we care, right?
It’s bad enough that these corporations ruined Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday not only because it marks the beginning of cold, cozy weather and a chance to gather with my family and share a meal, but also because it means a reprieve from the hallmark of every other celebration: gift buying. I barely even noticed†Thanksgiving this year, as I started seeing Christmas commercials while I was handing out Halloween candy to the kids on our block. This year, corporations would have had us skip right from October to December. We don’t buy gifts for November holidays, so they must not be important enough to acknowledge anymore.
It’s no secret that we live in a consumerist culture. Itís not necessarily about wanting the best deals all of the time, but mostly about just wanting. If the sellers of the world had their way, we would never be satisfied with what we had, never be happy with anything but the brand new, the very best. We certainly would never sit down for a meal and give thanks for what we already have. This year, it seems like theyíve taken the nation one step closer to their utopian vision by opening stores for early Black Friday deals at 10:00pm Thursday night, cutting dinner short and reminding us not to be thankful for too long. After all, there is more stuff out there you can be thankful to be able to buy. Then, they continue this vision throughout the month of December by hitting us with a barrage of advertisements and deals to get us back into stores we have already visited.
Personally, I’m sick of it all. I’m exhausted just thinking about shoving through the crowds in these stores only to wait in long lines with crabby customers. I’m sad that people seem to equate caring with spending money. It makes me upset to think that the holiday season used to be about ice skating in the park and catching snow on my tongue while watching the great light displays with my family, and now it’s all about how much you can buy for the least amount of money. I refuse to believe that the amount of gifts you give is equal to how much you care, so, this year, I am boycotting the holiday shopping season and hand-making all of my holiday gifts for my friends and family.†My gifts will be thoughtful, personal, unique and – best of all – will not be part of our consumerist culture.
Of course, I am finding myself buying the materials to make these gifts, so they are not completely devoid of corporate influence. However, the final product will be one-of-a-kind, with an important message: It truly is the thought that counts.
You might be thinking that itís awfully nice to make gifts if youíre able to knit, crochet or sew, but not everyone has the luxury of that know-how. Youíre right; itís awfully hard to make gifts for everyone in your family if you donít know how to knit, crochet or sew, and I would know because I donít know how to do any of those things. Instead, I scoured the internet for some great DIY websites with some easy-to-follow tutorials and Iíll be making wreaths and jewelry, gifts that reflect my familyís love of music and movies, painted homewares, and embellished pillows. They donít look perfect. They donít even look expensive. They look like I made them with love.
It is important to me to be able to show my family I appreciate them this holiday season, and I am fortunate enough to be able to do so by hand-crafting their gifts. This might not be the answer for everyone who questions our consumerist culture and pushy corporations, but it works for me. I encourage you to find what works for you this holiday season and, at the very least, take a moment to just slow down and be thankful this holiday season.
Photo Credit: slideshow bob