Monday, October 25, 2010

Random Question

Why is it that the people who have the LEAST amount of disposable income have the biggest, most elaborate, most commercial, most expensive, holiday displays? 

Corollaries to this:
  • I did not even buy a PUMPKIN to put on my front steps this year, as I can't really justify the five bucks just for something I'm going to throw out, or have smashed, for decorating purposes when I don't really care about it. When my kids were little, and it mattered to THEM, then absolutely. We had not just one, but at least 4, jack-o-lanterns every year, and scarecrows, and corn stalks, and HOME MADE tombstones in the front yard, and even a full-fledged haunted house in the bottom of our barn that was so legitimately good grown up kids STILL talk about it today.  But we didn't spend a lot of money on our decorations.
  • For the record, I'm talking those huge, blow-up, decorations that cost anywhere from 50-100 bucks or more, have to be tethered to the ground, and these people have, like, 10 of them in their front yard.  And lights.  More orange and purple and black lights than I OWN in related Christmas lights. Oh, and it seems like every singing, musical, bouncing, electronic item known to man, is hanging from their front porches. I go around from room to room turning off the lights in ANY room in my house that no one is in. Who can afford the extra electric bills? 
  • If I cared enough about this random question, I would actually post pictures from my town to show you what I mean. And of the 5 places that come immediately to mind, may I just say, all 5 families with these lavish holiday displays have children in school who are on free and reduced lunches, AND three of the five families could, in good conscience, spend a little more on weather appropriate clothing for their children.  I'm not complaining about the free lunches. I just don't know why you don't have enough money to pay full price for lunch, but you can spend hundreds of dollars to decorate your yard? For real?  Hello? Priorities?
  • I hope this does not come off sounding elitist - it is a serious, and legitimate question - I honestly  do not understand why people who qualify as low enough income to need assistance spend their "extra" money on something as silly (in MY opinion) as huge, commercial holiday decorations -  why not buy a couple more outfits for your children, or a set of snow pants to plan ahead, or some extra food for your cupboard?  But then, maybe the answer is, this is simply my opinion, and despite the fact that I have this unattractive tendency to believe that my opinions should always be that of the majority, maybe there is some other way to look at this that I'm not able to see at the moment. Hmmm.
  • This being said, I love this time of year - I have enough Celtic stirrings in my soul to know not to call my children's names out loud on Halloween night, and to circle my house three times that eve asking a blessing on all within, to bake Soul Cakes for the following day, to understand how thin the veil is that evening between this world and the other. That night sets my imaginative and creative self on fire - even without spending a dime on a pumpkin for my porch or a blow up purple witch with a green cornucopiea of warts on her gigantically large nose, tethered to my front yard.


Peruby said...

It is a sad situation. Why not just one or two decorations if you have kids? But the overkill really takes the cake. Especially (as you noted) when the family is in such dire straits.

Much to our dismay, there are many families who put material possessions above their own childrens' needs. Sigh.

gpc said...

They say that Halloween is nearly as big a holiday these days as Christmas, which is another whole issue that still seems strange to me. When my kids were little, and I had a decent middle class job, they had friends from a very poor family, who often couldn't pay their own heat bill. But those friends had such elaborate holidays and so many toys at Christmas that my kids thought that WE were poor! The family we knew wasn't "keeping up" with the rest of the neighborhood, they were always way over the top. I never understood it either. I suppose it was their way of protecting themselves and their kids from the stigma of poverty, a form of denial.

Leigh said...

I say the same about people who get to take vacations.... People I personally know that have debt collectors calling and they take off for a week at the beach. I'd be lying if I said it didn't annoy me... in the mean time my kids are asking, "why cant we go on a vacation to the beach". "well kiddos we pay our bills, thats why".