The Commodification of Love

Santa steals your happiness long after the holiday.

The holidays can be a time of duress and frustration for a struggling family. When you are unable to show your love through the delivery of gifts to family members and friends you feel inadequate and empty. At this point of the year the worst thing you can do is go out and use credit to generate a false sense of happiness for another person. As tempting as it is to grab a credit card and swipe, swipe, the consequences and ramifications of “giving” can be so detrimental that you can find yourself paying for it throughout the year of 2011 and beyond.

Not to deviate, but the government, your city, your state, the economy relies on the inability of Americans to display true love, affection and sharing. In other words, the economy is based on peak shopping periods and advertising and marketing are amped up to take advantage of the guilt that is associated with not delivering those gifts from Santa to the whole family. When you spend it creates tax revenue and jobs and these things are good, but for who?

I want to make this clear, we can not build wealth if we are spending on things that are supposed to show your love when love is not to be shown through an item. Love is an abstract idea that is shown in the simplest gestures. If you can wake up and cook breakfast for your family and this is out of the normal then that is a beautiful gift. If you can take the family for a drive to a local place that you have always wanted to see, that is love. If you do something as simple as spending two hours on the floor playing with your children, that is the greatest gift a child can receive.

Love has been taken from the realm of sharing life wealth, and it has been packaged with a theme song and a bow from your local mall. In creating the need to give a present as a representation of happiness, we have built a society that no longer recognizes the little things needed to gain wealth. I am not talking about money here, I am talking about life wealth. The unfortunate association of gifts with special days, for the poor person, is a frightening thing.

In the mind of a person who reads this and thinks, “This guy just doesn’t want to spend money on gifts.” I make this one statement in regard to this frame of mind… You are right. I don’t want to buy gifts. I want to make sure that I don’t create more bills than I can afford which will develop into arguments and strained financial relationships. These things are what lead to unhealthy children, divorce and debt. You are right I don’t want to buy gifts that I can’t afford. I don’t want to be persuaded by a date on a calendar to purchase items for my family because it is the ‘American Way’.

What I do want is for my family to be healthy. I want my children to know that gifts don’t make you happy, family does, caring does and what better way to show this than by giving them the most important thing they will ever get, time.

Yes, the holidays can be depressing and stressful when you can’t afford to give, but if you make it a point to share your time with your family: Run a race against your child, run a bath and give your spouse a bath, go to the movies as a family and splurge on the popcorn, visit your family and tell yourself that it is okay to not be able to give. Save for today, so that in the future you can give without the burden of debt and struggling. Enjoy your Turkey Day and think about alternative gifts for the family. Do not put yourself in a difficult position by rushing out to the store after Turkey day sales or being taken in by the guilt associated with not giving. If you can not withstand the pressure, then make sure whatever you buy is within your budget, give gift cards, visit CB Publishing and buy books (wink wink), give someone a CD that they really like. Give gift certificates for the movies or restaurants. Give someone a break from their regular life. A ring or watch can’t give you much needed rest or quiet, but a great meal at a restaurant is sometimes one of the most inexpensive great gifts you can give. For a new mom, a dad who takes the baby for six hours is giving the best gift of all. Think about the small things and don’t be bullied by Santa.