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A Change in Christmas


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#1
Atnevon

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NEW YORK (AP) In a season that inspires earnest letters about toys, one notable batch is being sent not by kids to Santa's workshop but by parents to the executive suites of real-world toy makers.

The message: Please, in these days of economic angst, cut back on marketing your products directly to our children.

The letter-writing initiative was launched by the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which says roughly 1,400 of its members and supporters have contacted 24 leading toy companies and retailers to express concern about ads aimed at kids.


Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/articl...RmelGgD94OON700

I've been having this conversation lately with a few different people, and I thought it might be a good topic for some discussion here. Do you think that the way the economy has turned south might change the way people celebrate Christmas on a long term basis?

If you've ever happened to read Laura Ingles Wilder's books, you might remember tellings of a Christmas that was celebrated mostly as a special occasion and was barely focussed on gifts at all. It's hard to believe that as a society, we've gone from a Christmas that was all about family to a holiday that's all about who can spend the biggest amount of money to make their family happy - in only the space of a longer lifetime.

Now, however, we're faced with a Christmas where the economy is doing so poorly that people can't afford to be nearly as extravagant with their gift giving, and odd as it may sound to say, it might actually be a good thing in some ways. If we can make a really concentrated effort to make this season about family and friends again, maybe in the Christmas's to come, the ones where money isn't as much a concern anymore, we'll still remember how good it can feel without all the fancy new toys we've come to expect. Maybe... just maybe... we can learn to cut back on going overboard, on a more permanent level.

What do you think?
The sky was the color of a television, tuned to a dead channel. - William Gibson

#2
Isedon

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I can see how the economy might end up changing some people, and yet others just going more in debt trying to "keep the tradition alive" by getting absolutely everything for everyone in the name of saving face. However, the later can't go on for probably any more than a year or two if the economy trend continues. I guess it still depends what the family focus is for the general spirit of Christmas... Some will get together, eat lots of food and catch up on stories and just have the gifts as the part that comes before breakfast, and others that will break the bank trying to pretend there is no change or else feel that "Christmas is ruined"

Now, personally I'm of the opinion that its the visiting and spending time with the family and friends should be the focus, and most of the gifts that we (as a family) give to others are just to immediate members and are pretty much a $20 or less item that is a fun or thoughtful something to try and make the other person smile. I've even taken to trying to make some of my own stuff, or just getting something small, but focusing on getting a smile out of someone rather than impressing them.

As for the marketing directly to kids, I'd have to agree with the other parents that this is something that can strain kid-parent relations and I've never liked it to begin with... then again I dislike most commercials anyways, but it seems like child oriented commercials are worse because they use many of the same psychological tricks as are used in regular advertising on kids who are used to believing most of what adults tell them, albeit a little more over the top and mostly in the form of "Billy and Sally have one, why don't you?" and thus starting to imprint the whole keeping up with the Jones game of spending.

Tying back into the topical question, there are many levels that need to change before the average person is going to change their holiday priorities. Short term will probably see guilt or melancholy that the season couldn't be as extravagant as previous years, and a continuing reduced economy will, after a few years, lead people to expect a token/amusing/thoughtful gift, or perhaps even just a card where small gifts were the norm, and rather than playing with the latest high-tech gadgets or assembling the newest toys, people would have more free time that they would end up needing to fill... Of course, if the economy does pick up in a year or three, then spending will probably go right back up again for a lot of people. However, anyone who did have to cut back will probably have the opportunity to see how well things went without many gifts and perhaps model future gatherings on it. But, the more people who cut back, and are really OK with it, and tell their friends about their plans, the more people will feel okay about not spending a whole lot.

I think I made sense, but anything I said that didn't, please let me know ;-p

#3
Mana

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I can see how the economy might end up changing some people, and yet others just going more in debt trying to "keep the tradition alive" by getting absolutely everything for everyone in the name of saving face. However, the later can't go on for probably any more than a year or two if the economy trend continues. I guess it still depends what the family focus is for the general spirit of Christmas... Some will get together, eat lots of food and catch up on stories and just have the gifts as the part that comes before breakfast, and others that will break the bank trying to pretend there is no change or else feel that "Christmas is ruined"

Now, personally I'm of the opinion that its the visiting and spending time with the family and friends should be the focus, and most of the gifts that we (as a family) give to others are just to immediate members and are pretty much a $20 or less item that is a fun or thoughtful something to try and make the other person smile. I've even taken to trying to make some of my own stuff, or just getting something small, but focusing on getting a smile out of someone rather than impressing them.

As for the marketing directly to kids, I'd have to agree with the other parents that this is something that can strain kid-parent relations and I've never liked it to begin with... then again I dislike most commercials anyways, but it seems like child oriented commercials are worse because they use many of the same psychological tricks as are used in regular advertising on kids who are used to believing most of what adults tell them, albeit a little more over the top and mostly in the form of "Billy and Sally have one, why don't you?" and thus starting to imprint the whole keeping up with the Jones game of spending.

Tying back into the topical question, there are many levels that need to change before the average person is going to change their holiday priorities. Short term will probably see guilt or melancholy that the season couldn't be as extravagant as previous years, and a continuing reduced economy will, after a few years, lead people to expect a token/amusing/thoughtful gift, or perhaps even just a card where small gifts were the norm, and rather than playing with the latest high-tech gadgets or assembling the newest toys, people would have more free time that they would end up needing to fill... Of course, if the economy does pick up in a year or three, then spending will probably go right back up again for a lot of people. However, anyone who did have to cut back will probably have the opportunity to see how well things went without many gifts and perhaps model future gatherings on it. But, the more people who cut back, and are really OK with it, and tell their friends about their plans, the more people will feel okay about not spending a whole lot.

I think I made sense, but anything I said that didn't, please let me know ;-p


While I've adored every gift you've ever given me, I must say that the Giftmas present I've always loved the best was the year you gave me a CD of Mahjoong games and box of pencil crayons. Two simple, inexpensive gifts, exactly what I wanted, and yet even the family around us couldn't get why they made me so happy I was crying and kissing you.

Because those were what I wanted and what I needed, and you had worked for I don't how long to figure out what you could surprise me with. Simple, small, and wonderful was far better than if you'd spent tons of money on "stuff" for the sake of "stuff".
"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." William Ernest Henley




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