Commercialism? Not really

Commercialism? Not really

Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

I don’t complain about the commercialization of the holidays. I no longer get bent out of shape when the Christmas trees are put out with the Halloween candy in local stores. I don’t have a problem with the endless TV commercials for the Elvis Christmas album or the Snuggies “holiday gift pack.” And you know those people who line up outside Best Buy at 2 a.m. on Black Friday? Yeah. I don’t call them greedy or ridiculous or anything really. If you want to line up outside Best Buy at 2 a.m. on Black Friday, be my guest. You’ll get no criticism here. I’m blessed to live in a prosperous nation and I understand that part of that prosperity is generated during the holidays. So if you want to buy a Christmas tree in October or an Elvis Christmas album through a late-night infomercial, you have my full support. And if you want to buy 10 leopard print Snuggies, well, who am I to stand in your way?
The truth is we all have the freedom to determine how we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. We may not determine whose house we’ll be going to but we can determine how we’ll celebrate. We may not be able to control what kind of wacky pie Aunt Myrtle is going to make from her new cookbook entitled, “Cooking Without Sugar, Gluten, Sodium, Fat, Dairy or Anything Else That Tastes Good” but we can control our attitude about it. We can’t make someone love us who doesn’t love us. We can’t make someone come for a visit who doesn’t want to visit. But despite all those uncontrollable variables, we can determine the way we celebrate.
I’m writing this column a week before Thanksgiving and this year I made a decision. I’m going to actually prepare for Thanksgiving. Heart preparation. I started a long list of blessings. I wrote them down and I add to the list daily. Believe it or not, commercials and various advertisements have helped greatly with this endeavor. Every time a commercial comes on for anti-aging crème, I thank God for 48 years of living and for laugh lines. When an advertisement explains that I need to update my tableware for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I thank God for the dishes my mama gave me 25 years ago. When a Christmas commercial explains that my teenagers need cell phones that can do algebra homework while they sleep and ring in 10 different languages, I thank God that they’ve managed a decent quality of life despite their lack. When a commercial or print ad uses the term “Turkey Day,” I get a visceral twitch and say under my breath, “Lord, it’s Thanksgiving. It’s a day set aside to honor you … not a turkey.”
I’m guessing some of you aren’t getting what you want during the holidays this year. Maybe a loved one has died and this season is a reminder of better times. Maybe a loved one has stopped loving you. That’s even harder. Perhaps you’re unemployed or underemployed or broke or alone. Maybe all those commercials remind you of an ideal holiday that isn’t to be. I’m sorry. I suggest you get out a piece of paper and start a list of blessings. A thankful heart may be the first step toward celebration.
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For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, lisasmartt.com.

Published in The Messenger 11.23.11

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