We all know that Christmas, these days, is just an exercise in mass consumerism. This year, however, it’s annoying me more than ever before.
Perhaps it’s the recession: when the price of everything is rising and more people than ever before are facing poverty; maybe it’s because the world is in its current state. Or perhaps it’s just me: I’m turning into a grumpy old woman.
Television is not my media of choice. I avoid the news and only watch gardening programmes and geographical documentaries with my husband when he gets that sad and lonely look on his face and pats the sofa beside him in a meaningful manner.
Even such minimal exposure to the TV screen, however, means I inevitably see adverts; at this time of year, the Christmas adverts. And I get so angry!
First, there are all the food adverts from the supermarkets. What these adverts are really saying is, “If you buy your Christmas food from us, you will magically have a table groaning with a perfectly cooked dinner and a huge loving family gathered around it.”
Then the adverts for jewellery: “If you buy this bracelet charm for her, then your sister will love you!”
The chocolates: “Eat these chocolates for an instant orgasm – and no weight gain!”
The scent: “Wear this scent to be beautiful; to run free in the meadows, to dance on the moon with a handsome man who loves you, or to walk into a room wearing cloth of gold and turn everyone’s head toward you.”
And the alcohol… Well, these days I see alcohol in a different light. These days I am aware of the chilling statistics behind drinking. These days I see it as poison. So, I should probably keep my thoughts on those adverts for gin - “Turn your world a sophisticated green,” to myself.
Advertisements are never selling the thing itself; they are selling a dream. How many of us have that large, loving, multigenerational family who all get together for a traditional Christmas dinner? Even if we do – how much stress is there, behind the scenes?
Do we all have loving relationships with our siblings – if we are lucky enough to have siblings?
How many of us know what those perfumes actually smell like? They might smell horrible on us! And quite a few people, me included, find an overpowering scent physically uncomfortable.
I suppose these companies must advertise to sell their products. And their employees need the companies to sell their products. The advertising people need their adverts to help sell the products. This is the way commerce works.
So, I suppose there is no harm in these adverts if we see through them. No harm so long as we don’t see essentials we would love to buy but cannot afford.
This Christmas, more than ever, we cannot afford greed or covetousness.
So, good luck, glamorous advertisements: Iet’s just enjoy them for the entertainment they are.