There is less than a week to Holiday(TM).
How are American Christians spending this week of holiday reflection? In addition to spending time in prayerful contemplation of the birth of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, they can also wonder how many more civil rights that his stunt-double, George W. Bush will be stripping from the American people. But they will worry about that later, as they are currently stampeding into stores begging for XBox 360's at $299 or $399, the entire weight of the holiday season resting on whether they get this (or some other equally critical) item. Alas they are all sold out except for the few you can pick up for twice the price on e-Bay just to avoid the threat of junior throwing a Flintstonian, roof-raising tantrum on Holiday(TM) morning that makes you quake like a shepherd or a teenage boy in coital bliss.
Remember the Cabbage Patch Baby scare of Christmas past? My son wasn't quite born yet but it was still a national emergency. When my son was a toddler, I couldn't believe the number of used Cabbage Babies that were given to my son from the toy boxes were cleaned out by my oh-so-sacrificing-friends and relatives. He couldn't have cared less by that time. Obviously the kids who once craved them more than oxygen didn't care about them anymore. I know that my friends lost hair and sleep over the acquisition of said dolls.
When the "Tickle Me Elmo" craze hit, I didn't jump on the bandwagon. I told my son that they were out of stock and he could buy one with his holiday money in January if he wanted to, when there would be plenty of them. Sure enough, he never asked about it again. Mega-commerce dittoes to the PS2's famine one Christmas not too long ago. I gave my son an IOU in a box for one. No biggie. He did in fact take me up on the IOU that time, but no one lost any tooth enamel over it.
Know what? This whole Holiday(TM) thing is a crock. Kids go to school and some kid says he's getting something in particular, then more kids say they are getting it, too. Most of them ask for so much crap that they don't even know what it is that they are asking for. They just know that EVERYONE is going to have BLANK on christmas morning. For them, the important thing is going back to school in the new year and exclaiming that they got one.
Mom and Dad even get caught up in the want (dare I say--need). Mom and Dad have to prove their resourcefulness and Alpha-love by acquiring BLANK even if it means taking out a third or fourth mortgage. And if they have several kids, Creator Being (TM) help them.
The strange part of holiday "wants" is that the gift of the year isn't usually announced until it's almost too late to buy one. Why is that? Because the purveyors of toys are better at inducing guilt than 10 Jewish mothers or the entire Catholic Church. Hint to Fundy-NeoCons: when your kid screams on Sunday morning that you didn't get him BLANK, go ahead and try telling him to, "Remember, Jesus is the Reason for the Season." Then try selling him swampland.
And thanks to BLapadat for the edit.