For me, there is no better time of year than the holidays. I love everything about it: the food, the weather, being home with family and friends. Perhaps the best part, however, is the general feeling of holiday cheer that seems to permeate homes and businesses across the country during the last few weeks of each year.
Admittedly, my affinity for the season is a little biased. As someone who doesn’t get to see their extended family as often as they’d like and who has a birthday three days before Christmas, it’s hard for any other month to hold a candle to December. I mean with double presents and long-needed family time, what’s not to love?
Unfortunately, it seems that our obsessive consumerism continues to erode the true essence of the holiday season. Holiday values like community, altruism, and compassion have been replaced by egomania, greed, and selfishness. Rather than going on a walk through the snow to build a snowman or sitting by a roaring fire with loved ones we hardly see, so many of us are chomping at the bit to run right back to the malls and stores to spend more money.
This trend is clear to see in many aspects of American society. In retail, where Black Friday like events and pre-Christmas sales readily turn people into present-hungry hellions; in the entertainment industry, where celebrities and TV personalities twist the season’s sentiments to fit their personal or political agendas; and especially on the Internet, where trying to show other people how great a time your having has almost completely eclipsed actually trying to have a great time.
It’s kind of like going camping but spending the entire time on your phone or going to a concert only to live stream the event on Facebook. Sure, it’s nice that you were able to share your adventure or concert with your friends, but after the fact I can’t help but wonder: did you ever really stop and just experience the moment for what it was? Or are all of your memories going to be of the screen on your shiny new iPhone?
I’m not saying that sharing the details of your holiday celebration, or any event, through social media is inherently wrong or selfish, quite the opposite. Community and connection with one another are a huge component of the season after all, the problem arises when your motivation for sharing is based on vanity or putting on airs.
With this in mind, I’ve made it a mission of mine this holiday season to put down my phone and live in the moment, in order to truly enjoy the time I have with my friends and family. I implore you to do the same. Be present with those you love: laugh, smile, eat, drink, smoke, and give generously. Take pictures to preserve great memories, rather than to present an exclusive aesthetic, and maybe we can reverse this worrying trend.
Join us in making it a goal in 2019 to be more present in our lives and to take in all that our daily adventures offer.