Monday, December 01, 2008

We Have to Fix This

I know I'm not the only one who was sick to learn of the death at Walmart on Long Island when the doors opened at 5 a.m. and frenzied shoppers trampled a man to death so they could get $9 CDs and $700 plasma TVs. 

I know I'm not the only one who was disgusted to hear that some of the shoppers groused about the store closing because of the death and kept shopping anyway.

I know I'm not the only one who tired of being told that I'm a Scrooge if I don't buy the best and newest for everyone I know.

Who sucked the joy out of giving?

I'm not "silver lining in every cloud" kind of person, but I do see an opportunity when it hits me upside the head with a two-by-four. This economic downturn is trying to tell us something: stop buying crap you don't need for people you don't like! Stop doing it, whether or not you have money in your pocket.

I don't mean that I think it's a good idea that people are losing jobs and homes. That we have to stop. Today. But I do mean that sometimes we need a reminder that shopping frenzies are not worth dying for. Or killing for. And we don't have to listen to the marketers every minute.

The typical response to this buying free-for-all is "make your own gifts!"

That's great advice for those of us who can. Not everyone wants to. Or is good at it. Oh sure, everyone can bake a plate of cookies, but that gets old too. 

There is another answer. Buy local. Buy free trade. Buy from independent artists and crafters. Whether on-line halfway around the world or in your neighborhood, there are artists who have the perfect gift for someone special. Please support them. 

Let's put the joy back in giving. Give something unique. Give something special. Give something made with a human touch.

We can fix this.

3 comments:

Hildy Gottlieb said...

Or maybe stop equating "gift" with "stuff" altogether? Perhaps "time"? Perhaps togetherness?

Or maybe stop a culture of expectation of gifts? (And of course, the "culture of consumption" which is really just a nice way of saying "People who make stuff have to sell it to make money, and they have created a culture that will buy it...")

Or perhaps the agreement Renata and Jerome had for years, to not spend more than $20 on all gifts they gave each other for Christmas? (Talk about the need to get creative!)

Or maybe do what my friend Bill did in the Xmas post-Katrina - forgo all gifts and take the family to NOLA to help out?

Oh you have certainly got my blood going on this one this morning!
:-)
HG

MB Shaw said...

Yes!!! There are so many ways we can express our love for one another and material things are absolutely the least of it. What about a touch, a smile, quality time together.....

Heather Haymart said...

I am always so impressed with your ability to bring our attention to an important issue but instead of depressing us you inspire us. Thanks Jeane.