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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Are your holidays stuffed with too much stuff ?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Before we even carved our Thanksgiving turkeys, we were already being bombarded with holiday advertisements. Now that it’s almost December, our digital screens and mailboxes are overflowing with the season’s best deals on the latest and greatest “stuff”. With all of the surrounding festivity, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the overconsumption associated with the season.

Many of us hit the stores immediately following Thanksgiving dinner (or Halloween for some) and don’t stop shopping until Christmas Eve. We buy “stuff” for family members, friends, co-workers, gifts exchanges, our homes, our kids and ourselves. Then we see more great deals that we just can’t pass up, so we buy more stuff. Then we worry if all of the stuff we bought was enough. Will the kids be disappointed on Christmas morning? Did I get enough for dad? How much did my sister spend last year; maybe I should get her one more little thing? And off we go, back to the hustle and bustle to buy more stuff.

While it’s a wonderful time of the year and giving feels good, do we all really need more stuff?

There are 300,000 items in the average American home. Some reports indicate that over the past 50 years, the number of goods we consume has doubled, and the average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size to accommodate this increased consumption. British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily. Forbes estimates that the average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month – even though most women actually wear only 20% of what they own. In 1930, that figure was nine.

And who among us has not felt the burden of owning too much stuff? Toy boxes are overflowing and garages are packed full with 25% of people who own two-car garages admitting they have no room for cars. It’s estimated that we will spend 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items in our lifetime. We’re stressed about how to organize and manage the stuff we already have, and then we go out and buy more…? This doesn’t even take into account the amount of money we’re spending and the excessive amount of credit card debt we’re racking up.

Overconsumption and the obsession for acquiring more stuff can take the holiday season from merry to maddening. This year, try to control the urge to acquire and give more stuff, and see if your holidays become a little less strained and a little more meaningful for you and the people you love.

First Dogs of the White House

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Harry Truman famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” According to Animal Planet, more dogs have taken up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue than presidents, first ladies and presidential children combined, with rough estimates reaching 250 pooches.

Dogs help portray the First Family’s human side in the White House. Throughout history, dogs have played an important role in presidential approval ratings and elections, including pups such as Buddy Clinton, Him and Her Johnson, Millie and Barney Bush, Fala Roosevelt and Charlie Kennedy, just to name a few famous first canines.

Bo, the family dog that was promised to Barack Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, after winning the 2008 campaign is now the star of a White House promotional, where he can be seen inspecting the elaborate holiday decorations throughout the White House. Bo has an official photo gallery, an interactive profile on Animal Planet’s website, as well as countless new articles chronicling his upscale life in the White House. The presidential pup even has a Twitter account (although it’s not officially certified) and a Facebook page, which states, ‘Even if you don’t like Obama, you gotta love his dog!’

President Obama’s Christmas card features none other than Bo, the Obama family’s Portuguese Water Dog. Political opinions aside ‘ who doesn’t love dogs?

An ABC article notes how easily public opinion can be swayed by a political figure’s canine relationship.’ President Nixon’s famous Checkers speech in 1952 kept him on the Republican Vice President ticket after he denied allegations about his personal finances and that he intended to keep cocker spaniel his family had been given as a gift. In this year’s election former Governor Mitt Romney was scrutinized for crating his dog on the roof of their car during a road trip.

If presidential dogs could talk, imagine the stories they could tell; what coveted sources they would be for the media? And how much of their knowledge could make or break approval ratings?

Christmas on Thanksgiving? Black Friday is now Black Thursday

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Black Thursday is the new Black Friday.

Each year Thanksgiving is increasingly swallowed by Christmas and the season-long celebration of consumerism. This year, big-box retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Toy-R-Us are opening their doors as early as 9:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Retailers defend these strategies, claiming they are due to customer demand for more shopping opportunities’ — or are they?’ It’s really more about the tenuous economy and the business strategies of retailers to gain every possible shopping hour in the most prized retail quarter of the calendar year.’ Eager Christmas shoppers may be happy to have more options to shop, but retail employees may have to leave their own Thanksgiving gatherings early, or miss them entirely. We’re wondering ‘ is shopping mania going too far?

While mainstream retailers continue to bend to the will of the nation’s shoppers, others are showing a bit of spine. Nordstrom, for example, posted signs in stores nationwide, notifying that their stores will be closed on Thanksgiving and declaring their stance against premature Santa fever. “At Nordstrom . . . we won’t be decking the halls until Friday, November 27. Why? Well we like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.”

Who’d have thought that it would be a retailer, who stands to gain extra hours of sales generation, to call out the madness to these methods? Bravo, Nordstrom.