Every year, earlier and earlier, the decorations come up at the stores. Ugh.
This year, on Halloween day at Target, I overheard one morose father contemplate giving out candy canes for Trick or Treat: the sales associates were stripping down the Halloween merchandise before the holiday had even started. Why? To make way for the lighted trees and green and gold wrapped Hershey's Kisses.
That's why I LOVE this article "12 Ways to Decommercialize Christmas" by Megan Kamerick, posted on Bankrate.com. She offers a slew of ways to take it all DOWN a notch. Number one on the list is my favorite, a "Yankee Swap" or what my Canadian family calls a "Chinese Gift Exhcange." Called by many other weird names-- White Elephant, Thieving Elves, and my personal favorite, Dirty Santa-- it's a gift exchange for adults: one gift each, a price limit, a certain amount of creativity and theft! How can you go wrong?
Just Beat It
One of the hardest things to deal with at this time of year is the pressures, most significantly, I believe, the pressure of competition. For example, one woman ahead of me in line at Christmas Tree Shops was spending $300 on wrapping paper, stockings, their stuffers, and dozens of other throw-away pieces of junk. What for? A school Christmas party. At what point does (or has?) the "holiday spirit" become infected with something else entirely?
At the holidays, I feel there seems to be a sense that because we have the means, we need to somehow-- if not each other-- at the very least outdo ourselves. A better and bigger gift, party, tree than last year.
The decision to embrace a greener, more holistic lifestyle definitely means fighting all sorts of demons. And for American consumers at the holidays, the meanest demon of all is that one inside, something like "competitive goodness," which, if you are looking for it, often disguises itself as "giving."