We may struggle in this country to provide health care for all. We may be failing in our quest to provide equality of opportunity for everyone. We may be impoverishing the many to enrich the few.
But by God, where else on this earth can you buy a table lamp in the shape of a gekko for a low, low $68.99? Made in China.
I am ceaselessly amazed. All hail the Electric Gekko, in the spirit of Christmas.
I’m not supposed to have these thoughts during the Christmas buying season; but they’re hard to avoid. Christmas is a retreaded pagan holiday re-popularized by Charles Dickens and taken up by retailers in the 19th century as a way of selling consumer goods to the burgeoning middle class. It still works as designed, even though the middle classes don’t exactly burgeon these days.
Easter is by far the most important Christian holiday; but it’s hard to market. People can eat only so many chocolate eggs, and the Easter Bunny lacks the panache of the Man in Red. That said, I see the younger generations adopting Easter as a barbecue/party day in honor of the coming of, I suppose, swimsuit weather. Perhaps Santa can be persuaded to surf.
But until that happens, the secular Christmas rules over all other holidays in American culture. You don’t even have to be Christian. Heck, it helps if you aren’t — unless you’re an observant Jew or Hindu or Muslim or whatever, and your kids are running around the house blubbering because all their more-or-less Christian friends get presents, but your religion doesn’t allow it. I sometimes wonder if Secular Christmas as we know it was designed by demons to bring maximum disruption to the human psyche.
About the only things you can do to make the bloody day positive are 1) give to the poor and deserving, and 2) if you are buying presents, buy from a local business that treats its employees well and gives back to the community. One sure sign of a such business is The Dog in the Middle of the Sales Floor. We bought my niece a Christmas present at such a place (see below).
Doing business with good people makes the Christmas Buying Ritual a little more bearable. But nevertheless Secular Christmas sends all the wrong messages: big presents equal big love, small presents are shameful and say that you don’t care. And there’s the emotional blackmail angle.
If you love somebody, show it 364 days a year and take Christmas off if you like, as your present to you. Or join the crowd and worship at the altar of the Electric Gekko. Or is it the Golden Calf?
Meanwhile, in my next post, I will solicit money from you. Happy Holiday!