Can the Christmas spirit be bought?
December 12, 2007
When I watch television or read the newspapers these days, I am reminded that this is the close of the shopping season, which overshadows the true meaning of this time of year.
TV commercials or newspaper advertisements, one after another drives home the message that people are happiest when they are giving their money to a department store chain. All in the spirit of the holidays, of course.
I'm fighting the urge to go into one of my all out fits over Wal- Mart tyranny. I won't, ahh, maybe I will.
Christmas seems to have gotten away from us, lead-ing me to believe, "A shopping family is a happy family."
Which I know is not true.
These days, if you don't have the cash to spend, you can make yourself happier by running your credit cards to their limits. When the bills come in, with interest rates at anything from 17 percent at the banks to 28 percent at stores, you will feel like you have died and gone to heaven. And if extreme debt makes you happier, you'll wish you had.
But yet, people do it anyway!
The advertising business makes the 'world go round.' It is the advertising business that provides my family with a living. But there has to be a point where you feel as though it has gone too far.
I want you to respond to our advertising, I want you to buy a car from a local dealer or a snowblower from the local hardware, and stock your shelves with food from the local grocery store. Local retailing is the key to my argument. Purchases made in your hometown stay in your hometown.
I can't tell you where to spend your money, and I understand the bargain prices are hard to overlook. Buying only on price has a down side as well. I can only encourage you to think about spending more locally.
Unfortunately, the spirit of Christmas has become a means to redistribute wealth. It is a holiday exploited by large chain retailers and profiteers, and the true meaning has been lost in the shuffling of money.
Wal-Mart and financial institutions want us to redistribute what little wealth we have into their hands. Now, they already had lots of money before the Christmas shopping season kicked into high gear. How much more do they need?
Most of those profits do little for our schools, streets and quality of life. Buying local insures a healthier neighborhood and community.
Wal-Mart executives make more money in a month than most people make in a year. I'm all for redistribution, the kind where a little of their wealth comes in our direction. Wouldn't it be nice to hear that Visa lowered their interest rates for the month of December? All in the spirit of the holidays. I don't expect they will do that though.
I'm knee deep in a small business and most of the people I know are also. Small businesses must also make a profit, the holiday season is a means to do just that. So there is some hypocrisy here, I know.
But is spending wildly on cheap merchandise at Wal-Mart the best way to celebrate Christmas?
Maybe we should put away our credit cards, debit cards and checkbooks and just set aside some time to be with our families.
Merry Christmas to all.
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Randy is the President of Page One Inc., which publishes the Tri-City Times, Woods-N-Water News and Page One Printing Company. He has been with the company since 1980. Randy has been writing a local column for 27 years on community events, individuals, sports, hunting and fishing adventures.