I’m about to rant here. If you don’t want to see it, look away.
There’s a WestJet commercial going around FaceBook featuring an elaborate set-up where passengers are asked what they want for Xmas, and then their wishes are fulfilled when they land at their destination. Everyone is wearing blue hats and such. Even the old fart himself, Santa, makes an appearance.
All of this is great except for two things. 1) Its a commercial for an airline. Granted its a smart one, a perfect ad champaign that is well suited for both the holiday and the internet, and 2) This is not a celebration of life, caring, or even happiness. Its a straight up selling of consumerism, albeit dressed up in a fancy blue outfit.
Perhaps I’m old fashioned, perhaps I am WAY off base, but I always thought the gift aspect of Xmas was a way to acknowledge family and friends. You give gifts to those you wish to express a “thank you” to. Sure giving gifts to random strangers is nice, especially if they have a genuine need–I mean nothing say Merry Christmas like giving a legless veteran a wheel chair–but these were not “needy” people, they were regular Joes. In fact one could say they were probably all fairly well off as airline travel is still one of the marks of middle class. You want to help the needy, go to your local bus station. They’re not hard to spot, believe me.
Moreover, they didn’t deserve these gifts. Had they done something–some charity event, helped the poor, worked in a food line at the local YMCA, anything–I’d feel different. But these people got gifts solely because they were at the right place and the right time.
So what we have here are needless gifts being given to a few (relatively) rich strangers for doing nothing. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t strike me as Christmas. That strikes me as rampant consumerism. Apparently nothing says merry Christmas than an over extended credit card.
How about for Christmasy stuff we celebrate, caring. We celebrate giving, especially to the needy or to family and friends. We celebrate the hard work of others, especially the unsung heroes who make all of our lives better. But most of all, lets celebrate the love that we see in each other. Not the happiness we get when we’re given yet another large screen TV.
And I’m not even going to touch the religious aspect except to say that if Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of the Christ, then let us celebrate it with all the joy, reverence, and respect such an occasion deserves.
For far too long Xmas has looked like an episode of “The Price is Right”. Lets put an end to this crap.