Slow Down the Constant Need for Consumption
Newsflash: there's no war on Christmas. There is a war on my self-esteem though as I am pulled ever harder to tie my personal value to the amount of material I can acquire and possess. There is a war to make sure that the clothes I wear and the phone I hold are inextricably linked to my physical, emotional, social, and even spiritual well-being.
I am assaulted by sales - Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Friday, and even the short-lived effort by Verizon to turn Thanksgiving into #Thanksgetting. Although brief, it impressed upon me the reality that something is a bit “off” about a holiday season that is supposed to celebrate generosity, kindness, and sacrifice, as it instead turns into a never-ending search for deals, mounds of gift-wrapping, and an exchange of 99% of things that will literally be discarded in six months or less.
This isn’t just my reality but the lived experience for 320 million people in the U.S. and others wholly bought into this economic theology who are wooed by advertisements that pour out messages of inferiority and incompleteness while providing the answer to the problem at the same time, promising complete satisfaction with the product pushed on us. If that t-shirt, car, or tablet won’t do it then the next “thing” surely will. How did we get here? That’s an important question but the more important one may be, “How do we get out?”
It is painfully apparent that the shoes on our feet, the size of our TV screens, and whether or not a wedge or stiletto heel is in season are more important than the people and the planet that make our purchases possible. Farmers in India, factory workers in Cambodia, and truck drivers in the U.S. are marginalized to the point of invisibility while all that is visible to us is the word “SALE.” Quite simply though, I don’t need to know the size of the buzzsaw headed for me to want an escape route.
Here are three ways you can get informed and inspired with your family and loved ones as you rewind and relax this holiday season: