Susan Mihalic

Susan Mihalic
August 05
Writer & editor. Passionate about freedom of expression. Liberal, aspiring to be pointy-headed. Follow me on Twitter: @susanmihalic.


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NOVEMBER 27, 2009 2:01PM

What If We Just Don't?

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What if we just don’t?


What if we don’t buy into the frenzy of buying?


What if we ignore the frantic media drumbeat to charge into stores now that the cleverly named Black Friday has opened the official start of shopping season? A clever euphemism for out-of-control consumerism does not make an orgy of spending less of an orgy.


What if we reconsider whether we really need any more stuff? What if we reconsider whether we really want any more stuff?


What if we don’t charge more things to credit cards that are about to carry significantly higher interest rates? What if, come January, we don’t open our bills with racing hearts, constricting throats, and a sense of dread?


What if we spend our time establishing or maintaining our own traditions, actually communicating with the people we love? In other words, what if we don’t spend our time in overcrowded, overheated malls and big-box discount stores picking out more stuff nobody needs or wants?


What if we make the decision not to participate in the frenzy? What if we don’t allow ourselves to be lured by the inducements to spend, spend, spend? "Sale! Limited quantities! Today only! Today only from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.!" Why on earth would someone wait outside a store in the wee hours of the morning to be part of a stampede to buy more stuff?


What if we try to remember the last time stuff made us happy? What if we consider the idea that most material items will never fulfill our wants and needs?


What if we take a quiet moment and think about what we actually do need and want—from and for ourselves and others?


I bet it’s not a flat-screen television.


I love Christmas. I love the tree, the music, the gatherings of friends, the whole pagan-Christian swirl of customs and beliefs.


I simply think it’s time—past time—to take a breath. Scale back the manic behavior, not to mention the manic spending. Consider giving one thoughtful, meaningful gift to each of the people you love rather than becoming part of the mob, complete with mob mentality. We rush to be at the stores before they open. We rush inside once the doors are opened—sometimes trampling people without regard for their lives. Anyone remember the Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death by shoppers last year? Why are we behaving this way?


What if we just don't?

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It's been nearly a year since I've posted to OS, but there were extenuating circumstances. I didn't flounce.
Susan! I was just thinking of you the other day and wondering how you were doing. This is a marvelous post - taking a breather this weekend myself and avoiding the craziness outside. Welcome back!
We're not. Agreed on No Commercial Gifts this year. Except for the wee kid. Couldn't agree more, and WELCOME BACK. Stay!
Thanks! It's good to be back. I didn't intend to drop off the site entirely. 2009 took on a life of its own.
Yes. We already decided. No gifts being shipped to the mainland this year. Just gifts for those of us at home together. No manic shopping. Simple, small Christmas, no stress.
Wow, there is just so much truth here!
Tom, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. Maybe I'll celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day this year, just for a little something different.
Sadly, it's much like the problems with Global Warming, and the decay of our environment. They tell us it is too late to turn back now. The damage has been done. They say, "the only way to save the economy and help create more jobs is to go out there and buy... support the merchandise, production and the assembly line."

I'm not so sure who "they" are?

Susan, may the power of your thoughts be echoed to whomever "they" are. And may we remember what joy it brings to have, something more simple in our lives.
Susan, I'm thrilled that your back! I did a complete overhaul of Christmas about 4 years ago and I've enjoyed it ever since. I appreciate so much of what you are saying. I also appreciate all the small business owners that need our business, so I'm trying to find yet another balance. Look forward to more posts...
A friend said she thinks she's seeing the stirrings of a backlash against this manic drive to consume. I hope so. It's crazy, especially with so many people so deeply in debt, to continue this gluttonous consumption.
an elegant plea for the sanity clause.

It's not just Christmas. For my lundsmen Channukah has descended in similar ways. As Sandra Stevens here on OS says: "we admire the wrong things."

We must re-elevate striving and sacrifice and personal effort for others. I don't hate spending per se, or modern science at all. But it has become the entire alpha-omega, rather than an opportunity to add to a life spent on personal skill enrichment, and lovingkindness to people who suffer.

Watching "The dog who saved Santa meets the miracle family countey holiday" on Hallmark hall of fame is an empty exercise if we switch immediately after to "bling bling farce of love-zilla" on E.
If you lived so far off the beaten path, as I do, you wouldn't have to worry at all. Everybody I know is living pretty close to poverty level. However, I don't buy into the together-family as necessarily better than hordes of slavering strangers. :o)