Copping a holiday feel

The advertising (read: manufacture of consent) industry has raised self-centeredness to an art form, and nowhere is it more obvious than at Christmas time. Let’s review for a minute. Christians celebrate the holiday, because it signifies the moment when God gave his son to humankind. Most of the customs, lore, symbols, and rituals associated with “Christmas” actually are linked to Winter Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures. At the heart of these celebrations was the custom of family and friends feasting together and exchanging (giving) presents.

Nowadays, we have a hybrid, and whether it’s Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanza, the term “season of giving” is apropos to this time of the year. And what is it about giving that makes us feel good? Is there an immediate payoff, or does it come over time as we grow into beings more content with giving than receiving. Good question.

A Toys-R-Us commercial caught my attention last night, because it had a peculiar slogan:

The only thing better than seeing joy on a child’s face is knowing you put it there.
I find this repugnant, because it turns holiday giving into copping a feel. Giving, the slogan suggests, isn’t about a selfless act; it’s about the prideful notion that you — in all your magnificent splendor — are the reason for the season. You — sublime in your benevolence and clever in your thoughtfulness — bestow your grace on others, because it makes you feel good about you.

This isn’t just sad; it’s pathetic.

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