Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing day

What a relaxing day! Yesterday was a bit hectic, what with choir practice at church and then church. However, I really appreciated that with Christmas on Sunday this year, the focus was taken off opening presents and placed on more transcendent things.

I just read the book Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don't Have in Search of Happiness We Can't Buy, which says that although studies and statistics show holding materialistic values doesn't lead to being happy, materialism has increasingly become a much greater characteristic of our society, particularly in the recent crop of young adults. Materialism is a bit of a treadmill, one on which you never can feel like you have "enough", no matter how much money and/or stuff you accrue.

Both dh and I are fairly modest in our wants (living in developing countries can do that to you), and we have been united in focusing our family life on religious, relational, and educational goals. As recommended in Shiny Objects (written by a professor of marketing, ironically), we have avoided TV much of our marriage. We have been without a TV altogether for the past four years. This permits us to escape most of the advertising industry's incessant inculcation of materialism, a freedom that we gladly embrace over keeping up with the Kardashians's doings or idolizing wannabe pop stars. When we do occasionally see ads on Hulu or at a relative's home, we point out to our children that the ads are "just trying to get us to buy something" and are often stupid or dishonest. A positive result of avoiding TV marketing is the peace that we have experienced this Christmas. Yes, we gave our children gifts, but we probably didn't spend more than an average of $50 per child, counting stocking stuffers and candy. I did utilize a local thrift store heavily to save money on books and clothes and their grandparents sent gifts, but it was still a low-end haul by US standards. Yet they had a very happy Christmas. They were grateful for each gift and, most gratifying to us parents, they hardly fought with each other Christmas afternoon, indicating a minimal level of possessiveness about their gifts.

Now if I could just live up to today's name and box up some older playthings to give away in order to prevent toybox overflow, but low levels of materialism do not prevent little girls from developing emotional attachments to copious numbers of stuffed animals and homemade crafts. Grrr. At least they have loving hearts....

1 comment:

  1. I never knew what Boxing day was before. I figured it was a day that guys duked it out over alcohol-induced arguments they had had on Christmas Day.