Sometimes we do what we're told whether or not we have given it much thought or considered the alternatives. Christmas is one of those times.
Holidays in general get me to thinking, and as regular readers know, getting me to thinking is both dangerous and purposeful.
Since we were children, we've been indoctrinated with the so-called Spirit of Christmas and all that it entails, including massive debt, some guilt and an overwhelming feeling of obligation. Merry Christmas.
But we go along to get along, and if we eschew the tradition (a.k.a. obligations) of the holiday we are committing social suicide and risk being a cast out in our social circle, such as it is. Peer pressure is a huge part of most holidays, and none more than Christmas. It's the reason I can't fault drug addicts and compulsive gamblers for falling in with the wrong crowd. We've fallen in with the wrong crowd too, only our crowd is called Society and we rationalize it because the mob mentality has made it right.
We do a lot of things without thinking, including several that are against the law, because "everybody does it" and if we do it too, we're not considered oddballs, merely social. That's a problem.
How many of our parents used the familiar quote, "If Johnny jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it too?" when asking us if our reasoning for doing something based on the popular choice was right.
So, why as adults do we suddenly claim immunity from doing what everybody else does and stop thinking for ourselves?
We feel obligated, and if we don't get something for somebody who might also buy us a gift we feel guilt. It's the world's biggest Pyramid Scheme.
Admittedly, it's too late to change mankind's behavior, and the retailers know that. They've started earlier every year, selling us on "that special gift for that special someone" while ignoring the fact that there may be other times when we have given gifts to special people in our lives, but now is the time when everybody does it - so you should too.
It's an awful lesson to teach.