The Holidays buying frenzy – a culture of vultures?

Holidays,money,gifts,giving,putting the world to writes,Suzan St Maur

The Holiday Season: feeding our greed?

Given that most of us in western industrialized countries have just experienced two weeks (or so) of ongoing festivities, you can’t help but wonder how the beliefs of this time of the year have been interpreted among faiths that don’t celebrate them.

Why should they? Because, if nothing else – and here I am talking at my most commercial and cynical – the whole gift-giving period represents an extraordinarily good opportunity to sell, sell, sell.

And that’s whether to the early-bird gift buying crowds, or to the bargain hunters who hang around Holidays websites and bricks-and-mortar stores seeking bargains even if they have to camp out literally or metaphorically for hours before the sale items go live.

So what’s wrong with that?

Nothing, if you’re in business and keen to take advantage of the gift-giving culture … because businesses that sell gifts can clean up at times like this.

In fact the Holiday Season not only has become a mecca for gift-selling businesses … it also has spawned, indirectly perhaps, a retail orgy that now spans Black Friday and Cyber Monday (either side of the US Thanksgiving) plus another week or three around Christian Christmas as well as New Year’s with ever-earlier mass discount sales, special offers, et all.

Shark feeding frenzies come to mind

Holidays,money,gifts,giving,sales,Suzan St Maur,No doubt if I were into retail I would be rubbing my hands with glee at the thought of such opportune moments to shift product.

But have we forgotten what such Holidays – whatever your faith – should really be meaning to us?

Is it really about stuffing our faces with delicious and usually expensive food and spending fortunes on gifts for friends and family that, half the time, will be unwanted and recycled to a charity store?

Is it really about spending a few days with relatives with whom otherwise we have nothing whatsoever in common and actually don’t like very much, but feel obliged to grin and bear it with because “it’s the Holidays?”

Should we get back to basics here?

I freely admit it – I cooked truckloads of food for a vast group of family and friends and we belched and f*rted our way through it lasciviously over the last two weeks.

Although everyone seemed to enjoy it and the camaraderie was joyous and heart-warming, there were many times when I asked myself why on earth we should be indulging ourselves in this way when there are so many “starving people in developing countries.” That phrase has been said so often that it has become a cliché, but cliché or not it is still frighteningly true.

blog,writing,news,blogging,Suzan St Maur,,how to write betterMuch as the rest of my family enjoy the tradition of the Holidays and no doubt will want me to keep that going next year and beyond (currently, at least, we live in a big old rambling house with plenty of space) … I’m wondering whether to tell them all to get on with it themselves next year and instead go join a number of my other friends who spend the Holidays helping and feeding the homeless.

Strikes me that’s a lot more about where the true meaning of the Holidays should rest – whatever your faith (or not).

What do you think? How do you feel about the true “Holiday spirit?”

photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via photopin cc