It's that time of year again. People are getting together with loved ones - friends and family alike. It's a time when some contemplate the deeper meaning of life while simultaneously basking in the festivity of this ancient winter tradition. It's largely a Christian tradition now but in times past it was very much pagan as are most traditions. The story of Christ's birth; the new born savior bringing greater light into the world is the personification of the the days getting longer from the 25th of December onward. It's a time to celebrate new life and hopefully learning from past mistakes. As for me, I'm hoping it leads to better lifestyle choices,making better connections with the people I most value, and traveling.
Yet there's a downside to this most cherished of holidays. For several decades it's been way too materialistic. Instead of just enjoying the pretty lights, the decorations, the yuletide caroling,and the crisp winter air people are stressing over how much stuff they feel they have to buy for others - often times for people they don't even like and who make more money than they do. People continue to ruin their credit just to make an impression and not to appear like a cheapskate. This is the unfortunate downside to capitalism and how how corporations have managed to make this a holiday of commerce more than anything else.
I suspect this will change over time BUT not without much resistance - not just on the part of the mega corps (who stand to loose a profit) but also by people at large who simply don't earn sustainable wages. The gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" continues to widen with the middle class well on it's way to utter oblivion. What's even more disturbing is the fact that roughly half of all Americans now live at the poverty level or below. Without a manufacturing base and massive illegal immigration continuing at an alarming rate; there's simply not enough jobs to go around. What few exist are mostly service oriented and don't provide living wages for it's employees - part time or full time.
Regardless of one's religious views (or lack there-of) I see no reason why this tradition has to end. Sooner or later, the materialistic bent it's taken will come to a halt. We're simply not as wealthy of a nation we once were. That's no reason why we can't enjoy a large gathering with our friends and family BUT it's gonna have to be toned way down - monetarily speaking. Imagine not worrying about buying gifts and having to rush to the mall and dealing with all the traffic. Instead you enjoy playing card games with close friends and relatives,sitting by the fire place singing songs and sipping apple cider.
A little bit of minimalism can alleviate a lot of undue stress due to unnecessary attachments. Have what you need but not much more. If society at large did the same this would be a better world. It doesn't mean you have to be a vagabond lacking transportation and a few electronic gadgets here and there BUT feeling pressured to have the latest smart phone or plasma t.v. is ludicrous. Most people now see having cable and/or satellite service as a necessity. It's pathetic. It's not only an economic drain but it's highly distracting - leading to poor social skills among other unsavory things. It's just not worth it.
“Live simply so others may simply live.”
― Mother Teresa
With that I bid everyone Seasons Greetings and a happy new year.