I get a lot of email each day. Between the accounts for my personal use and my business, there have to be 500 or more every single day, rain or shine, weekday or weekend. My assistant helps me go through some of it, and of course some is spam. Can’t seem to get rid of that, though we’re on all the do not email lists there are.
I don’t know if it’s the recession and everyone operating out of poverty consciousness and fear, but it seems like there’s way more marketing than ever this year. I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Paade and it seemd that every single person they talked to, every song that was sung and every word spoken was somehow a tie-in to another show to watch, another song to download, another musical to attend or toy to buy for your kids. The same, it seems is true of almsot every email I’m getting these days. It would be far more punk rock if someone were to write me and say, you know what, don’t buy anything today. Maybe tomorrow, if you really need it, or sometime between now and the holiday. You know, that one that’s supposed to be about giving and light?
It’s easy to preach about consumerism around the holidays, After all, it seems to get weirder and weider each year, almost liked something staged for everyone’s benefit. It’s no longer connected to anything, no longer meaningful in any sense. So I guess the thing, for me, was to see if I could connect with any sort of meaning for this season. I don’t have any kids, so that’s out, but I sat for a bit, just letting all the feelings and sensations of the season wash over me. Some memories from my past, mostly painful ones about forced holidays trying to impress my relatives with faux gratitude and a litany of my achievements at school, arose. There were a few isolated times of snowball fights with my friends or building a snowman with my family, and then they were gone.
I thought of the dinners I used to deliver to people with HIV and AIDS, and how most of them haven’t nade it to this year, and paused to remember their presence on earth. I thought of my own little family here, tiny by comparison to most but still strong, and I thought of the memories I wanted to leave behind. Of course, very little of these had to do with material possessions. Very few had to do with things that had anything at all to do with money. As I held the faces of my loved ones in mind, all I could hope was that we’rd have as much time as possible together.
How’s that for reframing the holidays?