This past week, I experienced “time”, as in the way times have changed. It was wildly obvious in what I was watching and in what I was hearing.
I, unfortunately, overheard conversations that centered on the most horrible of phenomenons: keeping up with the Joneses. And hearing it at Christmastime, just seemed to amplify the shallowness, the commercialism and the insanity of it. I almost wanted to run screamed from the room…I have this, you have that. UGH.
I have been noticing on many “for Sale” sites on FB the sheer amount of “used” items being sold these days that really aren’t used at all; they are in someone’s possession but they are brand-new…NWT (New With Tags). I honestly think you could probably skate through a year of purchases without ever going to stores or paying full price for anything just by finding things on these sights. Huh, a challenge? And there is everything from couches to phones to clothing to tchatzkeys (even saw packs of diapers and formula). How have we amassed so many items that we truly do not need to the point that we somehow acquire them and never, ever use them? Not to be a total downer but when the mind flashes to the people all over the world with virtually nothing, this is more than a little horrifying and depressing.
And from this commercialism and hoardism (not a word? well, I’m making it one) to watching classic Christmas movies like White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. White Christmas was new to me (unbelievably so) and I had to laugh at the “tameness” of it. Loved the costumes, the dancing and particularly the “color” of the film. There was the little bit of so-called romance and intrigue. The ideas that stunned folks back then and the conservativeness of the dress. And then there’s Jimmy Stewart and the Wonderful crew…back when kids went sledding on upturned shovels, 2 cents worth of licorice laces was a treat and to bully someone, you opened the gym floor to reveal a swimming pool that your intended target would plummet into.
How did this leap happen? We go from Rosemary Clooney wearing pearls, tailored hats and full-skirted dressed to the kid in front of me at the post office today (again with the post office, I know) with his pants falling off of his derriere. I really wanted to say “pssst….I don’t know if you realize this, but your underwear is showing (gasp)” but didn’t since you never know how people are going to react these days. Underwear is not on my list of things worth ending up in the ER or police station for.
Is there a happy medium somehow or is this the trajectory for our world?
My husband laughs but I always put…eh-hem…SANTA…puts an orange in the bottom of each of my daughter’s stockings. You know how some things stick in your head and in some recesses make a big impression? Well, when I was little, I plowed through all the Little House on the Prairie books and really enjoyed them (it apparently was a different era. I have tried selling both my kids on them and it’s a no-go). In one of the books, they described Christmas in the Ingall’s household. The Ingalls girls were absolutely floored by receiving an orange, a peppermint stick and I think, a penny. Maybe there was some other little gift involved like a haircomb or pin, but I remember being struck by the orange…a piece of fruit, something that we totally, completely and entirely take for granted now, sent these kids to the moon. And back (to continue on the children’s literature theme). Holy smokes. We’ve come a long way, baby.
So, this orange will keep appearing in the feet of our family stockings for years to come as a nod to the simpler-yet-still-appreciated. As a happy by-product, when you are completely overdosed on sweets Christmas morning and you tear into that orange and the sweet oils float around the room making it smell heavenly, it’s a good thing.
Maybe those Ingalls girls were onto something.