All of you who love the continuous flood of Christmas ads on screen and in print, and use them as your own personal Santa’s helper, please stand up.
I’m sitting here, hoping you’ll block my view from all these ads.
See, I hate these ads. They come with messages that not only destroy the meaning of Christmas, but turn us into materialistic robots who keep wanting more and more until there is nothing left of us. Listen to these ads, for their messages are deafening:
Holidays mean gifts, gifts with a Buy Me tag attached to each.
Gift giving is not for the less fortunate because these gifts bear dollar signs.
Holiday means replacing good running cars and refrigerators and electronic gadgets with new.
New is good, without new, you are not in the holiday spirit.
Financial institutions promise you a happy Christmas if you make loans with interest added.
Holidays is for the wealthy, not for the poor.
The best of gifts come from stores.
I grew up believing the only true Christmas was what I saw in these ads: Snow falling, carolers outside our door, a lighted Christmas tree with presents, and a fireplace for warmth.
Where I grew up in Hawaii , we had no electricity. Snow was on top of Mauna Kea Mountain. Our tree was a droopy tree from the hillside, and homemade comic strip chains wound around the tree. We didn’t have popcorn. The bottom of the tree was not covered with gifts. Until I understood this false image created by ads, Christmas was something to be desired; Christmas was created for someone other than myself. I was always that child looking into windows.
How many children are there right now, staring at TV screens and newspaper ads, wanting, knowing these ads are meant for others. How many parents are staring at these ads, feeling a failure for not being able to join the materialistic world?
We have separated our world into two: theirs and ours.
Today, Bob the electrician who was here to do some work, mentioned how he did some work for a man. Through conversation he realized the man was jobless and not able to pay much. Bob handed him a hundred dollar bill and walked out. He laughingly said, “Imagine that, I go to do some work for some guy and I pay him for the work I did. ” Bob was smiling.
Why don’t they tell these stories in those ads?
One holiday season, my internist invited me to join him in preparing a holiday dinner for each of his shut-in patients. On Christmas Day, we gathered at his house, roasted turkeys and delivered a complete dinner to each of his patients . Their inability to express their gratitude was our gift.
Without rehearsal, we later went to a nursing facility and sang Christmas carols. A woman asked me, “Do you have a CD that I can buy?” Now, that made my day because I’m not Julie Andrews, and that night, I became a caroler instead of waiting for one.
Two of the best Christmases spent in Sacramento was the day Red and I took a carload of 67 poinsettia plants from a neighborhood shop ( they were about to toss them out) and we drove around nursing facilities and placed them in residents’ rooms. Someone sent us a train set once; we set them up at the children’s home somewhere in Sacramento.
If you’re still standing, here’s another image: Someday, there will be no tree ornaments made by precious grubby hands of your child. There will be no poems or letters hand-written by your teenager, or a home-made lop-sided mug to hold all your pens. Pens? Maybe there won’t be pens to write either. No, your gifts will be duplicated in hundreds of other households.
Are you still standing?
Happy Holidays, Everyone.