The holidays are over. And I have to admit that I’m glad.
That sounds so incredibly cynical. But there it is.
I’m a professional copywriter. I’ve helped over 200 businesses sell all manner of products and services: books, magazine subscriptions, insurance, credit cards, software, sex education videos, corporate training materials, Internet services, computers, newsletters, high-end fashion, mailing lists, nutritional supplements, sports equipment, and on and on.
In other words I sell stuff. Lots of stuff. Yet, I dislike buying stuff. I loath shopping. And when Christmas rolls around, I feel oppressed by the incessant push to buy, buy, buy.
There are things I love about Christmas, though, particularly doing good things for others. At my wife’s workplace, the corporation has a “giving tree” where tags are hung bearing the names and wishes of poor local children.
Employees take the tags and buy gifts for the children. Most people take one tag. My wife waits a few days, then strips the tree of all remaining tags.
We then choose a store or two and begin filling shopping carts with clothing, toys, and games. And I enjoy it. Why? Because I know I’m doing something worthwhile. Because I know the gifts will make the kids happy. Mostly, because it’s my choice to buy the gifts.
Now if someone told me I “must” buy those gifts, I wouldn’t enjoy it at all. And I think that’s my problem with all the other Christmas gifts I buy. I feel I “must” buy them. The season demands it. It’s the culmination of a year of holidays and birthdays where cards and gifts seem mandatory.
But is a gift you are forced to buy really a gift? What would my family think if I took all the money I spent on gifts for them and bought more gifts for needy children? Could I convince my wife to try it? I floated the idea to her, but it didn’t go over very well.
My wife is incredibly generous. But she loves to shop for family, even if none of them really need anything.
So am I a hypocrite for loathing holiday commercialism? Do you feel this way sometimes?