By now, you already know that “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are recent marketing creations, designed to get you to buy more, spend more, have more stress, engage in more consumption and to confuse “tradition” with moving money out of your possession and onto the bottom line revenues of brands.
We didn’t get here by accident though.
The human need to persuade, convince and to sell—and idea, a process, a service, a product—is so strongly embedded in human biology, psychology and even our spiritual DNA, that we have welcomed this change, from over 50,000 years of “not enough” to the last 100 years of “too much.”
We want to be sold and persuaded; but, we want to be persuaded and sold on the things that have meaning and mattering. This is why, even before commercial brands and corporations, there were empires, governments, and tribes. And, at a level even deeper than that, there are religions and belief systems that have toppled powerfully persuasive empires.
Which brings us to the reason for the season.
Meaning and mattering doesn’t come from buying one more item, no matter what the commercials tell you. Meaning and mattering doesn’t come from consuming one more meal, though the commercials will tell you this as well (it’s no surprise that gluttony and Thanksgiving have become closer commercial bedfellows in the last 20 years). Meaning and mattering doesn’t come from throwing away abandon and forgetting the old year and old mistakes and making resolutions that won’t be kept, because they’re too hard, too overwhelming, and too meaningless.
Meaning and mattering comes from remembering (and acting on) three core principles this holiday season:
- Thanksgiving is a time for being grateful and seeking silence from the noise that doesn’t matter more so than for being gluttonous.
- Christmas is a time for seeking redemption, giving the gift of forgiveness and seeking reconciliation with those who have harmed us, more than it is a Saturnalian bacchanal of commercialized shopping, glorious getting and begrudging giving.
- New Years is a time for seeking resolution and closing the circle on gratefulness, remembering what we have gained in the previous year and looking forward with excitement to a new set of experiences, rather than a drunken brawl and a hangover riddled future.
Meaning and mattering.
Let’s focus on that this holiday season, rather than on the latest deal from the largest corporation.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org