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Occupy Christmas

The Xmas madness starts before summer has officially ended.  In retail stores and malls decorations go up and Xmas music is endlessly looped for months.  Now Black Friday is starting on Thursday — many stores will be open today, Thanksgiving.  Yes let’s ruin one of our best holidays, Thanksgiving — you know, the holiday when families gather and give thanks and eat a feast and don’t spend any money except on travel fares and food — in order to rev up for the BIG ONE:  XMAS!!  And if you ever wondered what the unknown X stands for in that abbreviation, it surely is not “Christ.”  The X equals “$.”

From various sources I have read that consumer spending accounts for 70% of the US economy, and a large percentage of that spending occurs during the Xmas season.  That means that the US economy is driven, to a large extent, by the mindless shopping frenzy that begins tomorrow today. What a great basis for an economy!  No wonder we are in trouble!

I’m sure that the people who profit from all this are the “one-percenters” — the CEOs of Walmart, Target, and others.  I doubt the store clerks are real happy about working on Thanksgiving.  In this time of 9% unemployment and economic stress, the last thing people need is a mandatory holiday that forces them to purchase gifts for each other, running up credit card debt.  Last year, credit card debt increased 3.5% from November to December, an increase of 2.3 billion dollars of debt.  Just what the economy needs!

I would propose: stop the gift giving.  The last thing people need are useless trinkets that most are going to exchange for something else the day after Xmas.  We already have enough iPods, neckties, bath salts, and whatever else people buy for each other.  There are people who are hurting badly in this world.  If I could start a movement, it would be designed to remove the onus of gift-buying from Xmas.  Sure you can buy gifts if you want.  It just should not be mandatory.  If you have excess money to fritter away (lucky you!) why not consider giving it away to a good charitable cause.  Feed people who are starving.  Help animals.  Support a cause.  Don’t buy another necktie.  Giving money to those that actually need it gives you a much better feeling inside that buying useless junk for people who could afford to buy things themselves.  If you feel you must give your family members or coworkers a gift, give a donation to a charity in their name.

Sure this is a kind of “War on Christmas.”  But it’s just meant to be a war on the commercial aspects of the holiday.  If you wish to celebrate the holiday as Christ’s birthday, or even as just the Winter Solstice, that’s fine.  Make it another Thanksgiving type holiday, a time to reunite with family and eat a lot of good food.  Get rid of the presents under the tree (yes even for the kids — stop the lying to your kids about imaginary beings flying around and coming down chimneys.  Maybe your kids will trust you when they grow up if you don’t lie to them now).  Join the movement!  Occupy Christmas!

UPDATE: There actually is an Occupy Christmas movement.  See here.

By mannd

I am a retired cardiac electrophysiologist who has worked both in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky and as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. I am interested not only in medicine, but also in computer programming, music, science fiction, fantasy, 30s pulp literature, and a whole lot more.

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