We went to the local mall on Sunday. It was packed, of course, with the usual shopping zombies, their minds destroyed by the glitz and glam.
Whenever we visit the mall, She Who Must Be Obeyed forbids me to shuffle along behind them, matching their gait and murmuring “braaaaiiins….”
Well, I’m not forbidden, but she won’t walk hand-in hand if I do, instead she’s on the other side of the mall saying things like ‘I don’t know that weird guy.’
Being the weekend-before-the-weekend-before Christmas, there were a LOT of people shopping last Sunday, interspersed with cellphone-toting teens whose minds were miles away, and toddlers drifting aimlessly around the whole lot like the wayward satellites of some Jovian supergiant. Every so often, one of the squidlings would squeal with the exact pitch and timbre of a gym shoe being scraped across a polished floor.
Looking at the way everybody had been reduced to brainlessness by the pressure to buy, buy, buy for Christmas, I couldn’t help thinking we’ve lost something.
It’s Christmas. It’s a time for caring. A time for families. A time to think of others. A time – well, it’s Christmas Spirit, isn’t it.
What’s it become? A marketing frenzy. A shallow exercise in consumerism. A concerted effort to extract as much cash as possible from the wallets of many who cannot really afford it.
Here in New Zealand, the shops will be open right through Christmas Eve – and open again on Boxing Day when, inevitably, it will be ‘sale time’. I believe that’s true elsewhere too.
Where has the spirit of care gone? Your thoughts?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013
Coming up: Fun holiday stuff – with some history, geekery and writing stuff. Regular writing tips, science geekery, history… and more… returns in the new year. Watch this space.