To Buy or Not To Buy?

December 4, 2012

Tree alight in front of Shepherdstown Library.

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

‘Tis the season wherein we are encouraged to spend more on the latest and greatest.  How else can it be explained that stores were open for business on Thanksgiving  Day this year?  Cyber Monday was evidently a record-setter so those sales certainly got folks’ attention.  A perusal of popular culture (TV, the internet, newspapers, etc.) provides an overload of “Best Of” lists as well as recommendations of what to buy for practically everyone on a shopping list.  And it goes without saying that the mailbox fills with catalogs-both wanted and unwanted.  (How many trees are sacrificed for media that goes right to the recycling bins?)  While this conspicuous consumption would certainly help the economy, especially the smaller mom-and-pop shops, it is also worthwhile to ask if all of this stuff is actually needed. 

Shepherdstown University at night.

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Having said that, it is useful to support the local, smaller retailers as they are often under much pressure from the big box stores and reductions in spending.  Before leaving the theme of consumerism, though, a final thought or two about the process of procuring those presents:  from a cultural perspective, we have been socialized that buying something for someone is a demonstration of love and caring, which, in turn, adds to the stress of rushing hither and yon in order to find the “perfect gift(s)” to meet the real and perceived obligations presented by the holidays.  Here is another suggestion: 

Crowd watching Shepherdstown Christmas Parade.

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Slow down.  Just get out and walk around and enjoy the scenery.  Find people with whom to talk.  After all, what better gift is there than to be present instead of giving a present?

Take care.

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