A couple of months ago our 8 year old came home from school and asked us what the leprechaun was going to bring for St. Patrick’s day. She had been told at school that the leprechaun would bring gifts or leave chocolate gold coins or some other something. I had actually stopped listening and was trying to not scream. I finally told her that leprechauns were actually very naughty and would steal toys if you let them into your house. It was not her fault she had been talked up by fellow students and this being her first St. Patrick’s Day in America she really did not know any different. I was probably a little harsh and realized this the next day when she was very relieved that all her toys were still where they were meant to be. Hyperholidayism shocked me even more with this weeks “celebration” of Siblings Day.
As irritated as I am about all this, we have made it easy for corporations to exploit us. We are all some version of the Disney Dad trying to make up for our learned or perceived shortcomings, we don’t see our kids for days at a time and then, in our guilt, we purchase stuff to make it better. Consumerism is connection and relationship in many, if not most US households. This is true from top to bottom in our economic life. The poor family spending the evening at McDonalds is the same as a rich family buying $200 Nike sneakers. Connection and relationship equals spending money in America. How much you are able to spend defines not only the worth we place on others but the worth we place on ourselves. The proof of this, is that we ever feel guilty by not being able to “do more”. Doing more equals spending more.
Saddest of all, is that this is completely antithetical to the Gospel. In God’s economy our worth is not based on how much we spend on a birthday, wedding, funeral, Christmas, Easter, St.Patrick’s day… and God does not judge the worth of other on how much we spend on them, God just simply does not care. What I believe God does care about is how we treat one another. Now some may argue that spending money shows a type of care, and that is exactly what the corporate world wants you to believe. Think of it this way; If you had absolutely no money whatsoever how would you show someone that you cared about them.
Thanks to Rage Against the Minivan for stimulating this post: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/03/lets-bring-holidays-down-notch.html