Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just what are they selling and what are we buying?

A recent trip to the grocery store overwhelmed me with the volume of cheap trinkets celebrating Easter up for purchase.

Staring down the rows of cellophane-wrapped plastic baskets brimming with packaged Pez dispensers, bubbles, packaged candies, I had to wonder if the petroleum that went into manufacturing that display was enough to scoot a car across the entire state of Kansas, east to west, and back. I’d wager there is more packaging in those baskets than product. Yep, all that plastic, ink, paper and cardboard to hold a few jelly beans, a small plush toy, marshmallow Peeps and chocolate crème eggs.

What does a purple plush Pez dispenser have to do with rebirth or resurrection? What exactly are they selling?

I thought about this for some time and believe the only real thing being sold is a stock share or two. Really.

Just few decades ago, Easter was a simple wooden basket containing carefully dyed hard-boiled eggs. It was an organic holiday with a family meal, hot-crossed buns and a spring bouquet or corsage.

We don’t formally celebrate Easter but I did go to the local confectioners and bought handmade dark chocolate bunnies and a few other seasonal items. I spent $11 total. Better quality product with minimal packaging compared to the stuff in grocery stores.

Check that, we don’t formally celebrate Easter but I felt compelled to buy something. Anyone else out there feel that way?

Maybe next year, I’ll give the girls seeds for Easter. Seeds are certainly more symbolic. Sugar snap peas straight off the vine are pretty darn sweet. The pea’s we planted are just breaking ground as I write.

So before you go for that impulse buy or a purchase out of compulsion, it might be wise to ask yourself, “Just what is really being sold here?”


Shea said...

Great post. I am currently 37 weeks pregnant and thought about Easter and its product consumption for the first time this year. I will choose to celebrate differently for sure.

Mama B said...

You just wrote exactly what I was thinking all season of Lent leading up to Easter day. I actually semi-dreaded going to the in-laws for Easter brunch. I knew when we got there we would be bombarded with easter baskets and gifts for our two young kids (a 2 yr old and 7.5 mo old). I was right. It is shameful, but I brought everything home and separated it into things to keep (which ended up being 2 books and a large plastic jug of bubbles) and things to give to throw away. I also felt Obligated to bring Easter gifts for the other cousins. Why? So I didn't feel like a shmuck. I did find a great stuffed duck at Goodwill for one of the kids though, so I at least attempted to recycle the gifts of Easter past :)

Megan said...

Just like with every other holiday, it has turned into a way for the companies to make money. Easter is about the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not about candy, bunnies, eggs or whatever else it's been turned into. I don't buy anything for Easter, boil eggs or any other traditions.

Willo said...

Love this thought. This is part of the reason why I love my husband's family's Ukrainian traditions that focus more on the cooking, eating, blessing of baskets, decorating eggs, etc...and less on the stuff. I finally convinced my mother-in-law (who plays Easter bunny) to go simpler this year with less stuff and less candy and for crying out loud less wrapping!

Anonymous said...

I agree that Easter has become like Christmas, it's a way for stores to make money.

Mama B: Of couse your in-laws are going to bombard the kids with gifts. Grandparents are supposed to spoil grandkids and I'm sure they love buying for the kids. Would you be upset if the grandparents just ignored it and didn't get the kids diddly squat? Holidays are for the kids, not the adults.

You should be thankful your kids have grandparents who care. Some grandparents could give a hoot about their grandkids.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the owner of this blog is more interested in thinking and preaching. I personally like the stuffs you shopped wisely.

Shopping Golightly said...

I must admit I understand Mama B’s situation.

Ultimately what matters with children is the quality of time that’s spent with them. I think my children will remember playing “Jungle” with my father and having a pretend bonfire of shoes set like logs in the closet over him giving them a Pez dispenser. Which is rather funny for I have solid memories of playing Jungle with my grandfather, me pouncing off the love seat rocker as a Tiger. The Jungle gene must run in the family. It’s awesome. Much better than Pez or Sponge Bob.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your thinking and preaching.

It is always encouraging to know that there are people still concerned about good stewardship of the earth for the betterment of future generations.

Keep it up, Golightly :)


Anonymous said...

A friend grows little "baskets" of real grass each Easter for her kids, neices, and nephews. A colored egg, a few candies, and a little something-something for spring and they love it!

Anonymous said...

I read your blog often and was struck by this commentary. I manage a thrift store at my college and you wouldn't believe all the insignificant junky bullshit that students amass in a mere 4 years! You have to wonder where all these tiny plastic Easter rabbits will end up in 15 years, and how many more of these little plastic rabbits will be created in that same time span. It seems our useless trinket trove is multiplying like rabbits, and the only way to stop it is to stop purchashing this "instant garbage"

Beth said...

"Instant garbage." Wow. Pretty much captures a lot of what we do when we "decorate" for holidays. I have small wooden ornaments for easter and Christmas from Germany. (Really.) They'll last forever, can be repaired if they are dropped, and will be passed on.