Food For Thought|
Commercialization of Christmas
David Lawrence Dewey
"Reading provides knowledge...
knowledge leads to answers."
Last time, I asked readers to write in their opinions and thoughts about the commercialization of Christmas and the Holiday season. Before I give you my thoughts, here are a few of who wrote me.
Faye, 55 in Albuquerque wrote, "I believe we have lost what the spirit of Christmas truly represents."
Tom, 38 in Des Moines wrote, "I feel like Christmas has become nothing more than the greatest gimmick for corporations to make millions at this time of the year."
Rochelle, 42 from England wrote, "Christmas use to be a very special time in England, however the American corporate commercialization of Christmas hit England about five years ago, how sad that we have relinquished our spirit of tradition to the way of commercialization.
Betty, 45 in Boston wrote, "My family stopped buying the usual way of gift buying and started making my our own gifts for family and friends, oh, how so much it has added to how I not only feel, but my family in what Christmas is suppose to be about, Love."
Becky, 24 in Florida wrote, "I really love going shopping through the malls. With so many things that you can choose from, I sometimes have a hard time deciding what to buy. I just love Christmas because of the gift buying.
In general, the consensus of the letters I received from so many expressed the same sentiments as those of Faye, Tom, Rochelle and Betty. Then there were a some letters like those from Becky who evidently, without sounding judgmental have somehow lost what Christmas is truly about.
When I was growing up, my family was poor. At the age of twelve, my parents separated and divorced. I remember many Christmas days after that, that me and my little brother were lucky to have just a bag of candy. Sometimes we didn't even have a tree. But I was sure grateful for that bag of candy. There was this one year when my Mother took in clothing for pressing during the Christmas season. She would work long into the night pressing clothes, then go to work the next morning. That Christmas was the best Christmas we had ever had. Not only did we have a tree, but I found a brand new coat that I needed so, for the old was was torn and tattered. My little brother received a bright new red fire engine truck. We had received those gifts from my Mother out of love from her working late into the night. I've shared this with you not out of sympathy of a poor little kid who had bad Christmas days, but to show you that Christmas is suppose to be the spirit of love and giving, many times through sacrifice. But most important, this is something that should be done all year long, not just at Christmas.
If you stop and think a minute, the wise men who came to see Christ, sacrificed by traveling many weeks, hardly resting to reach the star where Christ lay. This is sacrifice and love. There are people in this country that help the homeless, not only during the Christmas season, but all year by helping out at shelters. There is a young man, now 17 in Seattle who for the last several years since he was ten years old has collected blankets, clothing, personal hygiene items throughout the year. On Christmas day, he goes out into the city with these items and food he collected the weeks and days before and distributes the items to the homeless. He told his parents that instead of buying him Christmas presents, that they could spend that same money to buy food for the homeless. Now folks, this is what the spirit of Christmas truly is. The spirit of Love, Faith, Hope as given by the example of this young man who brings smiles and these three words to those less fortunate than himself.
The corporate commercialization of Christmas is at its all time high. It use to be that you would not see Christmas decorations or gifts until after Thanksgiving. Have you noticed that the last couple of years that Christmas stuff is put out right after Halloween is over and before Macy's even has had their Thanksgiving parade? The huge conglomerates are hitting us from all sides. For example, take the one hugh corporation for example who owns a chunk of stock in McDonalds. Ever wonder why you've seen so many toys, movies, etc. made by this corporation in McDonalds promotions, that is why. I wonder, could this possible be a monopoly of the market which is suppose to be illegal according to the antitrust laws? The word these days in the corporate world is, multi-level cross marketing. Another words, let's wrap this all up between ourselves and make buying suckers out of the parents of kids who will bug their parents until they get what they want. Sad to say, corporations like this through the years have forced many mom and pop stores out of business. And all for profit. And could this be why so many Americans can't believe in working a lifetime for one company anymore?
I believe we have lost the true meaning of Christmas because we have fallen into the corporate gift buying trap. Is there wrong with buying gifts? No, I don't believe so, but what is wrong is what we feel when we are buying gifts. Are we buying the gift to impress someone or are we buying the gift because we think it will bring a smile on someones face? Or are we buying a gift because it is the latest, newest gadget to come down the pike and I must get this for someone to impress them that I care. What we care about is not the person, but our own self ego of what we are buying. These may sound like harsh judgmental words, but I truly feel that is why Christmas has lost its true meaning. We have forgot Christ. Maybe it is about time that we put Christ back into our Christmas? By doing something for someone else and doing it many times for those we don't even know and not only on Christmas but throughout the year, do we then celebrate throughout the year what Christmas is truly about? It's a reminder that we are suppose to be caring and loving for others all the time, not just during Christmas.
I'll get off my soap box now and stop preaching. It is not intended to sound like a sermon. Instead, I am speaking from the heart, for I too was caught up in this commercialization for several years. It was when I lost my Mother on Christmas day in 1986 by a drunk driver. That loss made me truly realize what Christmas is truly about. It made me realize for the first time that one moment we can be here and the other we are gone. And...that what is more important than ever, is how we show our love, caring and concern, not only for our loved ones, but for everyone all during the year, because tomorrow we may not have that chance to show that ever again. This is what the true meaning of Christmas is suppose to be. A reminder of how we should be all year. It's sad, that you have to loose a loved one to make you realize this. I hope you never have to go through this. I've shared this part of my personal life with you not for sympathy, but hopefully for insight into this matter and very important part of life which Christmas represents.
Before I close, I want to update you on some information that I wrote about in one of my previous columns about the Smartcard and fingerprinting identification. Recently in San Diego, a man was arrested at a San Diego BankAmerica bank for refusing to place his fingerprint on the back of check he wished to cash. He had all the normal proper I.D., drivers license, etc. but the bank has now adopted a policy that they will not cash any checks without you placing your fingerprint on the back of the check. Furthermore, they will not allow anyone to open an account without getting your fingerprints. They are making all present account holders send in their fingerprints via a kit. If they choose not to, then the bank will close the account. This was all on CNN Television news the week of December 11th.
In my previous column, I wrote about this coming down the road. I even wrote
about this in my FOOD FOR THOUGHT column piece that I included in my novel
which I wrote in 1993. Dear Readers, as I stated before, the government, i.e. the
Federal Reserve working with banks will have the fingerprints of every person
who has a bank account by the year 2006. Now if you don't believe that this
is a marking, a number to monitor the masses, I don't know what else you
would call it. Eventually, you will not be able to buy anything using either
a credit or debit card without placing yout thumprint into a machine at the
store which this matches it to the copy of in on a computer chip in the card.
The target date for this is December 31, 2006. If you don't believe me, here
is the company who is mass producing these machines for store use. Key Tronic
Corporation based in Spokane Washington and National Register Corporation
based in St. Petersburg, Florida. If you don't believe that banks, the government
should have access to your fingerprints for identification and tracking purposes,
I strongly advise you to write, phone, email your elected officials. By the
way, the World Bank in Brussels has s similar plan to take effect for all
of the European banking community. This is worldwide folks! Even Communist
China is gearing up for it. I'll write more about this and keep you updated.
You can find a listing of U.S. elected officials email and phone numbers
and snail mail addresses at this sites:
U.S. House of Representatives.
My next column will be about the rise of drug use in this country and in the world. Write me your thoughts on why you think this happening and what the government should or shouldn't do.
Thank you for your continuing support by writing me your thoughts on the various subjects that I write about. It is truly is the freedom of speech that is the foundation and cornerstone of democracy.
I leave you with this poem I wrote in 1993.
copyright - February, 1993 - All rights reserved
My life is a special journey,
Between my God and Me,
I chose not always the path he sets before me,
Those of joy, pain and sometimes sorrow.
Not until the last songbird sings its last song,
And the doves of peace cease to fly,
Will God pull down the curtain before heaven,
And explain the reasons why.
Until that day arrives,
I will be one with Him,
For in Him, I have found my light, my peace, his love within,
And without that, I would certainly be no more.
God Bless and have a terrific day!
~ David Lawrence Dewey ~
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Updated January 1st, 2005