The Christmas season is here once more, with all its flare and festivities. Houses are strung with lights that gleam and anticipation fills the eyes of every child.
However, with this joyous holiday comes the bombarding advertisements and beckoning shop windows that promise a brighter and happier Christmas than ever before. Sometimes the temptation and excitement of shopping can give the illusion that this is what Christmas is all about, when in fact, it is something altogether different.
The main goal of advertising is to make people discontent with what they already have, and make them feel that their life would be much improved with the possession of something better.
Invariably, however, the initial thrill and excitement soon fades. It turns out that life isn’t that much better than it was before, and the next advertisement comes along to make them once again feel unsatisfied with what they have. Nowhere is this more evident than with the false hope that the latest technological device will be the ultimate.
What would it take for people to accept that they will never find the satisfaction that they strive for with material items?
They will only find contentment if they find it through the realization and acceptance of what truly brings happiness. There are many different values, and determining what one’s personal values are will go a long way to finding peace in one’s self. More often than not, what makes others happy will not result in personal happiness.
Comparison with what others have can easily translate into jealousy and greed. Many times one would be perfectly happy with what they have, if they didn’t know there was a better version available.
Can’t people simply be happy for others, without feeling the need to “one up” them? Is this simply human nature or have people become too negatively affected by mass consumerism?
Sometimes it feels as if the only way that people can once again be grateful for what they have is to have it taken away. As the old saying goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Sometimes taking a look around you and realizing how well off you are compared to many others in the rest of the world is the best way to be truly grateful. And gratefulness goes a long way toward happiness.
So perhaps this year, while advertisements attack from every angle, you should try to remember what brings sustained happiness and avoid comparisons with “new and improved” products.
» Elena Klippenstein is a Grade 10 student at Neelin High School.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 23, 2013