Thinking About Christmas Shopping

A radio news report I recently listened to stated that if Americans do not buy a lot of Christmas gifts this year, the economy will “be in the tank.” That’s the exact wording they used: In the tank.

Well, I haven’t heard how sales are going so far but I can tell you that the economy in my neck of the woods is not good. The cost of everything is going up. I live relatively simply. I have no mortgage payment, no credit card debt, no college bills, and yet, I feel pinched. Gasoline, auto repair, electric, telephone, all the insurances, dentist bills, taxes....I wonder how in the world other people are making ends meet? How is it possible that Americans can purchase a lot of Christmas gifts this year?

When I was a kid I would look through the Penny’s and Sears catalogs around Christmas time and dream of having so many different things. These days, there are plenty of other merchandise catalogs that come in the mail around Christmas. I do not look at them the way I once did. Now I look through them and think to myself how ridiculous and totally unnecessary almost all the stuff is.

Take, for just one example, the Brookstone catalog. It is subtitled, “Innovations for home and life.” There is NOTHING in the catalog that I need, or that anyone else really needs. Granted, there are a lot of clever and unusual gadgets and gizmos that you can spend your hard-earned money on, but few of them are truly useful or necessary. All of them will loose their luster, and end up being thrown out, some in a surprisingly short time. Or they will end up being sold in a garage sale or on Ebay, for far less that was originally spent on them.

So much unnecessary stuff. So much junk. So much eventual landfill fodder. The future of our economy rests on the willingness of Americans to buy this kind of merchandise for themselves and each other this holiday season. I think there is something seriously wrong with that.


Michael Bunker said...

The entire Amerikan economy, balanced on a single season - a season based on idolatry, greed, consumption, and, like you said, junk... yet the whole industrial system would collapse if this season - created by marketers and advertisers - was ignored by the people. Y'all think about that.

Going on 9 years without "the season" and we love Jesus more and more every day.

Conscience Test

Michael Bunker

patti said...

Thank you for expressing the obvious. So much junk is right. For my children we've given things like tickets to a concert, a dinner out for a low income adult child, doing sewing for my mom who can't sew anymore. I also shopped the local charity bazaar for a couple locally handmade gifts.


John said...

It is so nice to be made to feel responsible for the economic success of the country based on whether I buy or do not buy more junk that I do not need.

And the collusion of the willing mainstream media to repeat this line of thinking is so sad...

LadiesoftheHouse said...

My husband and I make all of the gifts we give. Yes, I go to the few stores we have and look because it's fun, but living on an island in Alaska really makes it hard to be blitzed by the media during the shopping season.

Plus the fact that we haven't watched the thought sucker in almost 17 years makes it virtually impossible for those greedy retailers to reach our backwoods minds to convince us that going into debt will help the economy.

I enjoy your blog--my 16 year old homeschooled daughter shot her first buck last year all by herself, so I can relate to the post about your son. She and my husband gutted and butchered the carcass themselves and the meat was incredible--what an amazing learning experience!


Leigh said...

Very well put.

Herrick Kimball said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments.

Michael, I have copied off the info and will read it.

Kris, I think your daughter is a remarkable girl, being raised in a remarkable place, by remarkable parents!

Oh, how I detest the "thought sucker!" It is almost as bad as those video game things. But, as can be seen in the background of my one picture, we have one. It is not connected to cable so we get really bad reception, and that's alright with me. The thing gets used almost exclusively for watching DVDs, which I'm concerned that my kids do too much of in the winter months.

Alaska sounds great.

MacCárthaigh Family said...

I agree with you.
God saved me 6 years ago when I was single and had a 3 year old son. Since then I have married a very Godly man and we don''t celebrate Christmas, but instead we have a family day which works out well.

People still give our son lots of gifts and toys though, and we struggle with this. I like it and I worry about it too?

I have two neighbours that have boys the same age as my son. One of them (4 kids) just spent over 1,000 euros on toys just for her son (10).

The other mum is going to Lap Land for a day trip (over 1,200 euros EACH) and will spend over 1,000 euros on her boy (9). She is not with her boy's father so Santa will visit both their homes on Christmas!!!

Neither of these women are able to afford all this... they will go into debt. Only for God opening my eyes, I would be a part of this rat race too...

BigPolishJimmy said...

One has to ask, "How does purchasing a bunch of lead contaminated Chinese plastic junk help our economy?" Nothing against the Chinese personally, they're just people trying to make ends meet too, but I'd rather the plastic junk be made at home.