Skipping the "Made in China" Christmas

Happy Holidays everyone!  Sorry I haven't blogged in a bit, but I've been extremely ill and well the holiday-related madness.  Anyways, if it pleases the court, I'd like to talk about the latter.  Yes, despite several outpatient surgeries and other things I tried to trudge through that oh-so-Christmas event known as shopping.  Ok, I only went out three times, but that was enough for me.  Frankly, I am beginning to believe they should change the name of Christmas to Consumermas.  There was nothing I could find meriting all the hassle at the stores.  Especially didn't feel like contributing more funds to China in the form of some plastic trinket.  Seriously, is this what the holidays are all about now?


I think Charlie Brown, or more specifically, his creator Charles M. Schultz had it right.  There is too much commercialism in Christmas.  I remember seeing displays being put up for sale at Costco a day or so before Halloween!  Talk about creepy or weird, Santa sitting next to a giant Tarantula.  And nothing, well, almost nothing being sold to our kids is made in this country!  Hell, let alone being made in this continent, most of the stuff just reeks of sweatshop.

Now I'm not a religious person by nature.  I believe in God, but couldn't grasp the whole Jesus thing as being legit despite being raised a Catholic. And also, compared to other holidays, Xmas was not my favorite.  So, perhaps this makes me a double hippocrite for even talking about this.  Yet if I have to endure it and, given that I'm forced this year to host the holiday parties (a relative of mine who used to do it lost their house), I think I'm somewhat in the right to comment.

I went into Kohls, Sears, Costco and Toys 'R' Us (which I may add is a dump!), and no matter what I looked at, a sense of guilt came over me.  Everything seems to look "cheap" even the high priced electronics, like as if you just know that it won't last past a couple of years.  Glancing at the clothes, like I mentioned earlier, images of sweatshops and eleven-year old girls in Vietnam (I've noticed that a lot of shirts aren't even coming from China anymore) sitting on wooden stools hunched over Chinese-made sewing machines on 12-hour shifts came into my mind.  By the way, if you're wondering, I skipped Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

Actually, after several hours, I did find two items made in America, tube socks and books.  I know I missed a bunch more, but I wasn't feeling well and frankly I hate holiday shopping.  To me, holidays be it religious or secular, should be more than buying stuff.  I hate it that we got a society that goes from one buying binge to another.  One thing that got to me was the public.  Now here we are, the economy in the pits, folks in the store telling me they lost their job or on the verge or know someone who did.  Yet what do I see these very same people doing?  Buying trinkets and gadgets and anything made of plastic and the sweat of under-paid workers putting their stuff on their credit cards.  Plastic on plastic for people with plastic expressions!

So I bought books for the kids. Now I don't have any children of my own, but I try and pay attention to what they're reading.  The younger ones I got that new JK Rowling book and for the older ones stuff more specific; the two who are into politics are getting the Shock Doctrine (one actually asked for it).  The rest, I decided on gift certificates for Borders (another madhouse).  I'm sorry, maybe I'm supposed to load up on video games, but frankly thought they could go without Gears of War 2 or Metal Gear, I wanted to give their brains a gift...OK, maybe the Rowling book doesn't do that, but something tells me blowing away aliens doesn't either.

When I was younger, hell even today, I'll see those Norman Rockwell paintings of family gatherings and figured it was a much more purer time.  I wasn't around then, so maybe it was bullshit back then too.  But something tells me it was better back then when it came to the holidays and friends and all that good cheer, than the mall madness we got today.  You bought little Timmy that Radio Flyer wagon, you knew your money was staying in this country and that the damn thing would last.  Today?  Well I was at Toys 'R' Us, and counted two plasticy things called Radio Flyers and both had wheels missing. What a good analogy of America today.

Sorry for being the grump. Even so, let me wish you all a very Happy Holiday season.  Peace be with you all.  Stay safe, we need every last one of you to move the country forward starting in January!



China thanks you for your industry

Happy Holidays Johnny! I hope your health gets better. That's a real bummer on the radio flyer wagon, one of the child mainstays, although trying to keep your cats in the wagon to pull along is assuredly a challenge, hamsters too!

Play is actually a lot of skills training for adulthood, so video games, I really wonder what they are training for?

Not for herding cats obviously.

I'd say that's the analogy, your radio flyer now made out of cheap plastic with wheels that won't make it down the driveway.

Anyone reading this, unfortunately the death and suicide rate increases during the holidays and I think that says everything.

Another thing that says everything is how many high quality movies open tomorrow. There obviously is a huge population who goes to the movies on Christmas day. Sounds good to me!

So, I Hope everyone makes their own holiday and throws off whatever you had been sold should be the tradition.

You know the candy makers made up Valentine's day...

Robert, Johnny and MadfromMiddletown

Merry Christmas. Wishing you paid Holidays.

Made in America? You must mean our credit cards.

They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

Herry Mxas to you also! ;)


Happy Holidays, everybody.

It's a cool day (20) here in the Hoosier State, but it's supposed to be in the 60s by Sunday. And for the first time in a week, the sun is out.

Now that we all are older, we don't get started at the crack of dawn. I'm just hoping to get my brother moving before noon.

And a happy Christmas to you all

You guys rock. Cheers!

Local book stores

I decided on gift certificates for Borders

A gentle suggestion: Search out your local bookstore, and get gift certs from them. There's still a few left, Amazon hasn't killed them all off yet.

If you can't find one, think of Powells as an alternative. If you've been to Portland, you'll know what a wonderful local institution Powells is.

There's still time for New Year's presents.

I don't do Christmas

Fortunately my parents decided to stop celebrating Christmas when I was still young, so I never got into the habit. I tell all my friends and family not to get anything for me because I'm not going to get them anything, and if they buy me anything it will just make me feel bad.
The reason my parents stopped celebrating Christmas was because of the focus on consumerism. That was three decades ago. Things have only gotten worse since then.

America has a disease called consumerism, and Christmas is the pinnacle of that sickness.


Avoiding stress, especially during the holidays, should be the goal. Instead, we are driven to the bigbox to get the best deals. The 'best deals' allows the one merchant over another merchant to separate you from your money. Money that does not go as far as it use to. Money that is earned through hard labor. Money, that continues to lose it's value on a daily basis. And while losing value, it is de-valueing your laboring worth.
How we commemorate this time of year, needs an overhaul. Though there is a number of Holidays at this time of year, it is only the Christian Holiday of CHRISTMAS that is commercialized. How have the Jews and the Muslims kept their holidays sacred and free from the over indulgence that the Christian's have? Keeping it simple! Some Christians have opted to highlight the fact that Christmas is a Birthday and not a Holiday. Others have opted to donate the money they would have spent on holiday gifts to their favorite charity. While others have decided to cut their extravagance in half. What ever way you choose is right for you. Just knowing you have a choice can bring PEACE of mind and self preservation. Be kind to yourself and let PEACE be with you. You will need to be strong for the years to come. Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays to All

You found Made In USA Socks?!?!?!?

I'm amazed at that alone- I thought all clothing was made overseas these days. Though tube socks- that should be automated by now, not that hard.

Anyway- Ace Hardware has the original high quality Wood & Metal Radio Flyer stuff. I happened to notice it this year.

Portland, OR ended up with not as much consumerism this year- Mother Nature decided to give us a White Christmas, starting 2 weeks early. It was the day after Christmas before I could leave my house safely.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.