Sunday, January 05, 2020

Still a sentimental fan of holidays

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 4, 2019)

It's the holiday season! This is the time of year when people can celebrate-- or not-- however they like. It's also when those who feel they are better than you and assume the moral authority to dictate how you should be allowed to live decry what they see as the rampant consumerism.

I'm glad I live in a time and place where "consumerism" is possible, whether I participate or not. Most of human history has been a struggle to barely survive, with a low chance of surviving long enough to die of old age. The choices and options we have today are beyond anything even royalty could imagine just a lifetime ago.

Besides, other people's consumerism doesn't hurt me at all. Buy what you want and can afford.

The reality is: no one is forcing you to buy anything-- unlike those who use politics and will force you to "buy" what they are "selling"... or else. You may feel obligated to buy gifts, and I understand wanting to give gifts and make people happy, but it's still your decision.

Of course, the height of the scorned consumerism-- "Black Friday"-- is already past. I hate the name "Black Friday" and wasn't surprised to find out the name originated with armed government employees in Philadelphia who were contemptuous of the shoppers heading to the sales on the day after Thanksgiving. Those shoppers were apparently an inconvenience to their self-styled overlords.

Businesses tried to redeem the negative connotation by saying "black" referred to the fact they could get their finances "in the black" if they sold enough that day. This was better, but I still won't use the dark term in conversation.

I want businesses to thrive but I have no desire to fight the crowds or participate in a shopping frenzy. Even though it's not for me, I can see how some people might find it exciting. Different strokes for different folks.

I like giving gifts. It's fun to find the perfect thing for someone. Especially when it's something they don't know exists or would never buy for themselves. It's a wonderful feeling.

I also enjoy seeing how people decorate their homes and businesses, and I like the Christmas music which seems to be playing everywhere during this season. Yes, I'm a sentimentalist. It can be a fun time of the year if you let it. You can even enjoy the opportunity to "Bah, humbug!" the whole thing if that's what makes you happy.

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