Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Too much pre-holiday consumerism? November 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:28 AM
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DURING THE PAST WEEK, we’ve been bombarded with news stories and advertising campaigns aimed at Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, all with the underlying theme of spending.

Honestly, I am tired of the greedy, materialistic consumerism that grips us during the pre-holiday season.

Are we so materialistic that we have to skip or cut out early on family gatherings, fight each other in the aisles and buy items simply because they are on sale?

I get nostalgic for those days when we weren’t quite so materialistically-inclined.

But, if I’m honest, I can look back and see that even during the 1960s, when I was growing up, we, too, focused on the gift aspect of Christmas more than we should have.

Remember “the Christmas catalog?”

I could not wait for the mailman (not carrier) to drop off the J.C. Penney Christmas catalog in our mailbox at the end of our southwestern Minnesota farm driveway.

My siblings and I fought over who got to look at the Christmas catalog first. By the time all six of us had thumbed through the wish book numerous times, the pages were worn and creased. We drew up Christmas lists from the catalog, wishing for the doll or the Army tank or the spotted Twister mat featured in the photos.

Rarely did we get any of those requested items; our parents simply did not have the money. Even though we certainly dreamed and wished and dreamed and wished some more, we were content with whatever gifts we received.

Today, however, I think many parents feel obligated to give their kids whatever they ask for. I don’t agree with that line of thinking. Kids need to learn and understand that they cannot have everything they want when they want it.

But first, we as adults need to curb our own greedy consumerism and our desire to have everything we want when we want it.

WHAT’S YOUR OPINION on consumerism this time of year, or in general? Let me hear your thoughts.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling