Thursday, December 6

The Grinch Saved Christmas

Oh Christmas TreeOh oh, looks like Frugal Guy is on another societal issues bent...

The other day, while watching Kramer on Mad Money, he made a comment about one of his children needing an iPod. He was surprised because she already owned one. Nevertheless, she felt it was necessary to get another one, because she really needed a blue one!

I guess that is on the Christmas list!

While this is important from an investment perspective, as it identifies how consumers relate to Apple's products, it also offers an insight into current day society and the rampant infiltration of consumerism.

Do you ever stop to think about how much time, money and effort is invested in advertising cool things to children and teens? Heck, matters are made worse by the fact that most children are raised using the television as a babysitter. Corporations are pushing our want buttons even before we are able to speak.

I distinctly remember, as a young child, wanting a brand of cereal because the commercial made it look so fun. Of course, fun and breakfast have nothing to do with the brand of cereal you buy, but it worked. Hey, when we are young we aren't really able to deal with subtle deception in this way. However, as I was saying, when I was eating breakfast I thought of the commercial and experienced a letdown.

This was the very beginning of my ability to decipher consumerism. I've been peeved at business practices ever since. I'm kind of joking, don't worry. How about using cartoon characters in order to entice children into smoking? Is anybody happy about that practice? There is an entire litany of misdeeds done in the name of shareholder profits -- and it really stinks.

Anyway, it struck me this morning that while the Grinch is certainly a dastardly fellow, sneaking around and stealing children's toys, he helps reinforce an important message. The Christmas season is about friends and family, taking time to let people around you know you care, and getting together for plenty of fattening celebratory meals.

My point?

It's the corporations that are stealing Christmas! Spending money on people doesn't prove that you care for them. Giving children whatever they want, whether or not you can afford it, does not help them develop an appropriate sense of self worth. It also doesn't impart an appropriate sense of money management.

It's up to us, as parents, to make sure we help our children learn to deal with all aspects of their lives. Consumerism, and the corporations pushing it, do not have our best interests at heart -- never forget that.

Note: Part of this week's Festival of Frugality over at Plonkee Money.

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Anonymous said...

Good points!!! Family is most important. Nice gifts are fun and commercials are over-rated I agree. If expenses are too high then I still recommend Warehouse clubs for those expensive items. You could get an Executive membership at places such as Cost-co and get a rebate before next Christmas that more than covers the membership fee. There are huge savings on baby items too. Good luck to all. Annette The most simple things in life are still the most important food, family,clothes and shelter ect...(the basics).

Wendy said...

I completely agree. That's why a lot of people in the crafting/ DIY community take a pledge at this time of year to give handmade presents. (either buying handmade goods or, more commonly, making them yourself.)

A lot of times, making gifts is much less expensive (sometimes not, though), but it is always more meaningful. (I, myself, made a rock n roll t-shirt quilt for my daughter's birthday and she loved it.)

My thoughts on handmade goods is that whether you make it yourself, or buy from artisans, money is going directly to (or staying with) the people doing the work. And I like that. (It's the same as eating out; we avoid chains and go to locally owned restaurants.)

Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog. Let me know if you ever make those jell-o shots!

Frugal Guy said...

Annette, Wendy, thank you for stopping by and commenting.

Every now and then I get the uncontrollable urge to rage against the machine... ;)