Sunday, December 17, 2006

Boycott Holiday Spending

This holiday season -- when you gather the children round the Christmas yule -- instead of filling their eager little ears with a story about reindeers, do a little research on the Father of Christmas. Skip past the propaganda you've been telling them about a pagan ritual celebrating the end of winter. It doesn't involve a 4th Century bishop of Asia Minor riding around on ten tiny little reindeer to remind us of the birth of Christ. The Real Father of Christmas also happens to be the nephew of Sigmund Freud. His name is name is Edward Bernays.

Take a look at the beginning of the Christmas Season that starts the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday. Think about how American's celebrate this day -- by getting up at 5 am to catch the early bird specials, flocking to catch the sale of a century generated by advertising in the early part of the year. The day is called Black Friday because a majority of businesses run at a loss until the holiday season when they earn nearly 40% of their yearly earnings. They're counting on us to shop, and every year we buy into the dream at a price that few of us can hardly afford.

Edward Bernays took a close look at Uncle Freud's work and found a way to manipulate large groups of people through their primal instincts. He founded the field of Public Relations and made a fortune selling big business the secrets to getting people to buy their products. Before Bernays the manufatures worried what would happen when everyone owned one of their products. Afterwards they learned how to hook us into next year's model, and eventually taught our children how to influence our purchasing decisions.

My favorite story is best shared while walking around the shopping malls. Should luck lead you to a Banana Republic, take a moment to consider where the retail outlet got their name. The Ghost of Christmas Past is at it again in Honduras, working with the United Fruit Company to provide millions of Americans their daily potassium. The company set the wages for pratically the whole of the country which inspired the citizens to rise up against the government. Bernays reponded with anti-Socialist propaganda and turned the country back around to the control of Capitalist leaders.

The truth is that these same Capitalist leaders have hijacked the sleigh and taken us on a debt-ridden ride through long lines filled with angry people fighting over worthless trash that will be obsolete in a year. The spirit of giving is a flimsey excuse to spend so much money over the holiday season, which is why I recommend highly that everyone reading this BOYCOTT HOLIDAY SPENDING. We have final control over the system, and can easily enact the TRUE spirit of the season by following these three easy steps.

1. Visit with your friends and family and bring them good holiday cheer that can typically be communicated with a smile. Some holiday phrases which might come in handy include: "Happy Holidays," or "Merry Christmas!"

2. If you're gathering for a festive occasion which involves food, bring over a dish that you've made yourself -- even if you can't cook! The spirit of giving involves a bit of self-expression, which is most certainly rewarded around the holidays.

3. When children are involved, satiate their hunger for consumerism with something fun that everyone can enjoy. That way everyone can have a good time catching up with family members they haven't seen in a year.

If you must purchase something to put under the tree: Shop Local. The businesses in the district include silver shops and antique dealers, hair salons and music stores. There's a story to be had when you buy something unique from a business in your local neighborhood. Get the folks a gift card to a popular local restaurant, or get the kids a new whiney new Emo tattoo. The community becomes tighter when you show your support and sees more success than the stress filled months typically produce, resulting in everyone shopping happily ever after.

Isn't that a better story than the one's you've been telling your children?

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