It is about this time of year that I have my annual “consumerism gone wild” rant.
Everywhere you look, the effects of Affluenza are clear for everyone to see. But what is Affluenza?
Now, Wikipedia defines affluenza as;
affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.
affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the Western Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.
Now, wait a minute. There is that economic growth example gets thrown around a lot of late. All forms of government seem to keep telling us that we must stimulate the economy, and increase economic growth. But doesn’t growth mean destroying, sorry, squandering the remaining resources we have left on the planet? That can’t be a good thing, can it? More on that in another post though. Lets get back to the subject of Christmas.
We have lost our way. It doesn’t need to be like this, but economic growth demands it.
Around this time of year, our consumer culture ramps into high gear, urging to buy the next shiny thing with money that we just don’t have. So what do we do? We go into debt by using credit cards, and end up with a big fat debt headache in the new year.
So now you know what Affluenza is, have a listen to the show where I will hopefully convince you that there is another and better way.
Once you have played the entire episode, please leave a comment about what you think of Christmas Consumerism. I would love to read your thoughts on the matter.
So much money gets spent on one day … I cannot justify it so do not participate. A few santa gifts for the little ones and a $50 visa card for the older ones to spend as they wish … a normal meal of free range protein and organic fruit and vegetables … just another day in my house and it won’t change anytime soon!!!
Kathy Partridge says
Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, a national “family” holiday when Americans supposedly give thanks for all their blessings but mostly just pig out and then slump in front of the TV in a carb-induced stupor to watch (American) football. It’s also the unofficial start of the “holiday shopping season”.
Tomorrow is, of course, our infamous Black Friday, where Americans get up in the wee hours to storm the malls, trample, fight and, occasionally, indulge their 2nd Amendment rights shoot each other over “deals” on cheap plastic crap from China. The ever-greedy retailers keep moving the start of Black Friday back so that now, many “big box” chain stores actually open ON Thanksgiving day/evening and individual stores that are refusing are being fined by their parent company for not doing their fair share to maximize profits, keeping the stockholders and CEO fat and happy. It’s called “Black” Friday because we’re asked to believe that retailers operate in the red all year until Black Friday, which finally puts them in the black. [Rolling eyes here.]
Black Friday is followed by Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Yep, however you do it, you’re expected to shop til you drop. I even saw an ad last night telling me I needed to stop by my local Ford dealer and buy a new car before hitting the malls.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll start seeing “news” reports lamenting the fact that Christmas sales are down and retailers are “suffering” because Thanksgiving was so late this year (it’s the fourth Thursday in November so can vary) that there are “X” fewer shopping days, and shoppers are just holding out for deals so retailers are being forced to put stuff on sale already. Wah, wah, wah. It’s the same every year and the retailers know exactly how to string everyone along and make plenty of profit to boot. Plus, they’re equal opportunity profiteers so a few years ago, they stopped using “Christmas” and instead everything became “Holiday this” and Holiday that” (as in Holiday trees instead of Christmas trees and wishing people Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas) in an effort to encourage all religious persuasions to join in the greed fest. This has been deemed the “War on Christmas” by Fox Noise (er, News) and has the Fundamentalist Christians among us miserable from Halloween right straight through New Year’s.
Then, in January, about the time the credit card bills are due, we’ll see endless commercials for consumer debt counseling organizations who will be happy to help you get your payments under control.
Sorry to vents so, but I swear it’s getting worse every year and it’s disgusting. Yeah! Way to go ‘Murica!
And straight after Christmas…. Easter eggs at Coles
Pam M, Australia says
Last year our Kris Kringle was limited to one $10 present that had to be from an op shop or garage sale or regifted.
We had so much fun with it and people had found such awesome and amusing gifts
My husband and I aren’t buying presents for each other this year – he’s just built veggie beds and we’ve had to get some rooms painted so we decided that was our christmas present to ourselves.
My sister and I are knitting/ crocheting presents this year. The christmas miracle will be if they both fit!
other than a few presents for nieces and nephews and aged parents we’ll mainly be eating, drinking and enjoying the time off together. We won’t go into debt, we won’t be overloaded with junk and we won’t be worrying that someone got a better, more expensive ‘thing’ than us.
I hate the commercialisation of holidays and events – christmas, halloween, easter – it’s shabby, pointless and takes away the real magic of these occasions – that they are times for people to get together and celebrate the good things and explore what it means to be human; family, friends, getting through the long winter, the mystery death, the relief that spring has arrived and the crops are beginning to grow. It turns us from thinking, creative adult humans into empty parasites waiting to be spoon fed the next experience. We are so much better than this.
The best present I ever got from one of my students was a dozen eggs from their chooks! I also love homemade cards that students have written on. I dread the gifts I really don’t need and have to regift or otherwise find homes for, and have even thought of requesting no gifts in my newsletter – I honestly don’t need a thing!
Gav, I’m jealous of your friends who will receive homemade soap.
Glad you reminded people not to go into to debt – I think even some people who are ‘green’ still fall into this trap.
Looking forward to hearing about the German lifestyle on Sunday.
Lynda D says
Amen! I cant think of a single thing i need and very few things i want. I want the snails to leave my seedlings alone. I want the birds to stay out of my garden beds or at least be a little neater. I want to lose weight (probably that’s a need) and i want peace. Good Post.