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Defeating the Merry-Go-Round of Stuff in the New Year

The holidays are hard for skinflints, what with all the gimmie lists and ads and gleaming store windows. It’s like a non-stop, whirring merry-go-round of consumption and … stuff.

In trying to pass on the idea to my 6-year-old daughter that the holidays were not all about useless plastic crap, I was continually reminded of the Dr. Seuss line: Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. Or something like that. I always get distracted by roast beast.

Still, despite the deluge of ads, it’s actually sort of easy to hammer home the idea that holidays are for family and getting together and enjoying our time together.

But how about the rest of the year?

The ads are still there, but Dr. Seuss seems to have left the building.

As the new year unfolds, we’re having more and more talks about a society that thrives on consumption and how we want to fit into it as a family. For instance, every time the kid gets some money, she’s encouraged to save a big chunk of it, spend a little of it, and, if she wants, carve out a little bit for charity.

We try to model this behavior at home and hope that, more than any talk, will rub off. We’ll see.

It’s ironic that after all our talks about saving instead of spending, about not getting duped by ads that are meant to fix “problems” that probably aren’t even there, about trying to reuse things instead of simply throwing them away and buying new ones, I admit we encounter a serious roadblock every new year.

The Super Bowl.

It’s difficult to spend a year talking about how ads and what not are only meant to help you part with your money, and then sit down together as a family and enjoy the ads instead of the actual show. Last year, the kid said, “What are you doing? Why aren’t you fast-forwarding through all the ads?”

But whatever. We are hypocrites sometimes. We hope the rest of the year defeats this one-time event.

How do you talk to kids about saving, instead of buying, or about how to live in a world rife with consumption?

A big thanks to Citi Price Rewind for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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