Ethan’s Insights: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Capitalism


As we all know the winter season is upon us. Everyone loves the smell of the pine trees and grandma’s latkes or dad’s roasted chicken or heck, auntie’s Kelaguen and Pancit yet this is also the time of impulse shopping and consumerism.

As we slowly regret the choices and buys we made over the last Black Friday, we gradually make a list of gifts for our family and friends that will probably put us back into the shopping craze.

This is undeniable; at some point or another, we will find ourselves taking part in the modernization of these winter holidays by giving into the growth of big corporations and industries.

Yes admittedly, this is better fitting for our growing world yet do we really wish to lose the actual meaning of these winter holidays to shopping?

Many large businesses and corporations capitalize on the opportunities to advertise to the wide range of people that celebrate these winter holidays, whether it be Kwanzaa, Christmas, or Hanukkah; there are many people looking for things to check off their gift list.

This makes it so that the younger generations look at their television screens and see that Santa Claus is making cars cheaper and then sending them here and there. This makes the child excited about a product that they would not otherwise be interested in.

These advertisements make things of no practicality seem more like a need rather than a want. My younger sister had recently asked for an Apple watch despite having no need for it. When we inquired further asking ‘‘Why should you need one?’’ she responded quite simply, “Because it would be cool.”

This is the story of most of the products and advertisement that is aimed at the youth. If the younger generations think it is cool eventually their friends will have them and there would be no need for practicality just as not to be considered the odd one out.

What I have just described to you is a fad to put it quite simply. Yet when these fads and advertisements control the spirit of the holidays, it takes away from the true meaning of what the holidays represent.

The temptation of giving into these advertisements is hard enough yet it gets more challenging as activities such as visiting mall Santas and fake snow arise.

Going to the mall around winter is dangerous for even the most disciplined shopper and with these mall Santas, winter concerts and all the other events it is harder by the minute not to go out and see and/or attend these joyous festivities.

“They will have the little ones come take pictures and if you are going out that way there is going to be an errand or two being that it is convenient, I mean you are there and so might as well just do some minor preparation for the holidays.”

This is the script of the play known as “Winter Impulse Shopping.” You think that it will be a short trip yet all of a sudden you find yourself strolling up the aisle of pretty much anywhere being that traffic to get to town is so bad.

My family has experience with this. We live in Makaha, basically a 20-minute drive from Nanakuli which is a 15-minute drive from Kapolei which is a 45-minute drive from the airport . . . on and on and on. This means that we hardly ever go out unless it is a necessity.

Suddenly your average shopping trip, just window shopping, turns into an all-day excursion. This is not good for when the holiday season is approaching and there are so many distractions.

I am not saying to squander family bonding opportunities. In fact, you should take full advantage of these; however, I believe there is a smart way to go about this winter shopping and Christmas special watching without giving into commercialism for capitalists.  

Step one: Wishlist- Determine a list of events in which you would like to attend. Doing so will help you plan your schedule and plan where you are going and when. This makes it easier to choose what you want to do and see if there is any conflict in schedule. Try to also include family traditions and put those first. For example, attending Christmas breakfast is more important than watching “Pitch Perfect 3” same goes for Christmas Eve dinner before “The Last Jedi.”

Step two: To-do list- Make a list of all necessities that you will need in the next 2 weeks (this does not necessarily mean that this is only good advice in the winter).

Step three: Go on these two trips separately and do not let yourself be distracted by tempting displays and if you have your children or younger siblings and cousins with you, drive them away from any windows that say, shows or mentions any kind of toy.

Quick note: This strategy goes the same for Holiday Special watching, ignore or mute the commercials and if you want to talk to those watching you should capitalize on the fact that all the people you want to talk to are all in the same room and now would be the best time to talk.

This strategy may earn you the title of a Grinch; however, remember that the Grinch was a grouch who did not understand that the feeling of these winter holidays comes from the heart.

All in all, enjoy your holidays and remember the priorities for them: Family, food, and fun.