About a week and a half ago a Christmas tree popped up in the living room of one of our neighbors. In what can only be a Yuletide arms race, that person’s next door neighbor soon decorated his balcony with all kinds of Christmas lights. I can understand why profit-motivated retailers push the holidays earlier and earlier every year, but what compels an individual to do so? Why, when there are still the carcasses of smashed jack-o-lanterns scattered on the streets does someone decide to decorate a Christmas tree the first week of November? And what about Thanksgiving? It is perhaps the loveliest of holidays. It is a shame to skip over it and move right on to the next one.
It could be that we have become a nation of children, unable to delay any gratification and expecting everyday to be Christmas. Or maybe we are a nation of bored, boring, individuals that need shiny objects and blinking lights to feel something. Or maybe we are a nation of Orange County Housewives, whose only goal in life seems to be to shop. Other than a supersized grocery cart, Thanksgiving doesn’t really require us to buy anything. Although, it does, of course give us the day after Christmas shopping frenzy. Financial responsibility evangelist Suze Orman has been saying for years that Americans are driving themselves to the poorhouse buying things to impress people that they don’t know or don’t like. I agree, but would add that our addiction to shopping is not just about impressing others, but it appears that shopping is all we know how to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I can really enjoy a good shopping trip. And the other Mr. MyPorch and I don’t really want for anything. But what troubles me is how so many people predicate their happiness on a daily basis on the act of consumption and a constant state of personal reward. Just like the Christmas season, why can’t the joy of shopping be one of many diverse things that makes us happy throughout the year? How about a little balance? To every thing, turn, turn, turn.