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Fresh Prints

Kendall Fischer Park Record intern

Maybe little Cindy Lou Who had it right in the 2000 family comedy, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

On the morning after Thanksgiving, early bird Christmas shoppers at the bustling Wal-Mart might find themselves thinking, as did Cindy Lou, "Doesn’t this all seem superfluous?" But only if they paused, mid-frenzy and took the time to think.

Amidst the mobs of bargain-hunting holiday enthusiasts and cheery holiday music and sale signs over towers of CDs and ice cream makers, it’s hard to imagine that there might be more to Christmas than a mad flood of consumerism. Maybe there isn’t.This holiday often seems like nothing more than a monstrous chore of purchasing things.

That’s what makes everyone happy, right? Few people pause to question why we need all this stuff or if it actually makes us feel any happier.Consumption of goods and services easily becomes more important than outdated ideals like peace on Earth and good will toward men.

Widespread, subconscious productivism – the idea that economic productivity and growth are the human purpose in life – drive advertisers to paint pictures of their products as being profoundly life-enhancing.Products are advertised as pivotal pieces of the consumer’s identity.

In this context it has become normal that kids should wait for the release of a new game, like the Xbox 360, for example, from 9 in the morning until midnight. In fact, local high school student Ricky Malott did just that. Why?

"It was something I really wanted." Why?

"It looked really fun."

What makes any toy so important?

All Ricky’s friends were jealous.Thus the purchase and possession of this new toy enhanced Ricky’s identity and his status among his peers, and according to Ricky, it really is a fun game system.

It appears that relationships with things can serve as substitutes for relationships with beings.If little Johnny is whining for attention, buy him a new video game to let him know you care or to at least shut him up for a little while so you can work and make some money – so you can buy him more stuff.

But really, we all have to make a living and entertain ourselves somehow and fill every scrap of time to prevent ourselves from having a second to freak out about abstractions like the true spirit of Christmas, much less the meaning of life. So we go ahead and work and purchase and work and purchase. Maybe ponder life a little.

And then just forget about it along the stressful cycle of wanting things, making money to buy things, needing newer, better, more things for ourselves and for the people we "care about" – enough to buy gifts for but not enough to waste too much time on – working longer and longer hours because when is anything ever enough?

What do you think? Students, The Park Record has its own blog for students to shout out how the feel about "Student to Student" or any other topic. Join the cyber-realm today at prstudentblog.blogspot.com.


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