Hello! I realize it’s a little early to be talking Christmas, but because holiday items are showing up in stores, it’s a relevant topic. Hear me out:
The other day when I got the mail I was actually a little excited to see a big thick catalog from a toy company. It would be fun to look at while I drink my coffee, I figured, but the very moment I opened the first page a memory came back to me:
When I was young I had seen this really cool art set in a toy catalog and I was determined to get it for Christmas. I wanted it so badly and when a gift that was about the right shape was put under the tree, I became certain that that was it. Thrilled that I was getting the toy of my dreams, Christmas couldn’t come quickly enough.
You can probably predict where this is heading from here. I opened the gift that I thought was a fancy new art set from the catalog, but it turned out to be something else. I threw the item, threw a tantrum and shocked everyone with my horrible attitude.
Now, I was, admittedly, a drama queen growing up and am not saying that this is how every child would react in this scenario. However, as that flashback faded, I wondered if people who lived in the pioneer days had problems like this.
Marketing is a fascinating topic to me, and the more I study it, the more I realize how saturated our world is with it. Everyone is try to sell you something everywhere you turn, and the holidays are the worst time for it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame companies for taking advantage of people that are willing to be swayed, they have to make their money somehow, but it does feel a little overwhelming.
For the past few months, I’ve really craved a simpler life. One quite similar to the Deeanne Gist books that I love to read of days when women wore petticoats and horses were the primary mode of transportation. No, I’m not about to cut our electricity and start sewing our own clothes, but back then they had so few needs.
When the husband brought home his wages it was divvied out in jars and saved diligently. They didn’t have to split part for the electrical bill, for the phone bill, for the internet bill, for the credit card, for their gas, etc. They had one room homes that were probably quick to clean and life was just so simple.
How does this relate to toy catalogs? Well, flipping through the one I got in the mail I realized that, really, nothing good could come from Jordan studying the pages of it as I had when I was a child. We can’t afford fancy toys, so it would only breed hopes and dreams that would be dashed.
If we are to raise our child to value character and wisdom over greed and materialism, we have to take action because if we don’t, he will become exactly what advertisers and marketers want him to become: a discontent consumer who buys first and thinks last.
That is why I’m banning toy catalogs from our home. I crave a simpler life that isn’t driven by the need to buy more, spend more, obtain more and I want our son to understand that concept as well. If I, as a little child had never spent so much time browsing the toy catalogs filled with things my parents could never afford, I might have been perfectly happy with the things I had gotten that Christmas that year. Let’s, together, raise a generation that is more driven by love and giving rather than greed.