OHEY THERE! The Activist Beat is a blog dedicated to social justice and equality. Here, society, current events and social issues are discussed with critical and sociological analysis. I am always open to suggestions, so please feel free to comment or email me anytime
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
The Real Cost of Christmas
Happy Holidays everyone!
I find that holidays are one of those weird things that are full of materialism and probably exist for the purpose of perpetuating capitalistic ideals. I mean sure, we all say that it's about family and friends and giving but...at the heart of it all is a huge white man that gives good little boys and girls presents. I think saying that presents aren't at the center of Christmas is a lie. I know that personally presents are probably my favorite part of the holidays. My birthday is also in December so it's really the only time of year I get things from other people; the rest of the time I have to buy myself something if I want it. We are socialized to be this way. Our culture glorifies this holiday materialism while simultaneously shaming those who are seen as too selfish. Saying you are in it for the gifts buys you the label of being a greedy pig. So you really just can't win.
Also, I think that Christmas at the end of the day is a waste. We are buying ourselves things we "think" we need. According to the American Research Group this year the average person was planning on spending $854 on gifts. Just think if everyone took that money and gave it to charity how much better off our world would be. Also, According to an infograph from ThinkProgress, the amount of money we spend on Christmas decorations alone in the United States could end homelessness.
I think facts like this really show how out of touch we are with reality. We think that Christmas is a good thing and that we are helping to give hope and love to other people through giving. But, if we really wanted to put our money where our mouth was we could simply give all that money to charity and those in need and bring an end many modern day social problems. Just by canceling Christmas alone for one year we could probably bring millions out of poverty. We could eliminate much of the need for government assistance. We could even out class lines. The funny thing is, this really is possible.
So next year why don't we all think (including myself) about doing something philanthropic with our money. If everyone say only spent $800 on gifts and put the other $54 dollars to good use, even by that miniscule change, imagine the good we could do. Forego that gift to your Aunt Shirley or your second cousin to do something great for humanity!
I am planning on doing this by becoming a member of Hollaback! which requires a $60 donation. It's such a great cause and it's something I am really passionate about! Also, as a member I get to be involved with organizational decisions, events, etc. which I think is an awesome treat :D.