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Your e-mails: Consumerism is ruining Christmas

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(CNN) -- For some, over-sized store decorations and tinkling holiday Muzak are not enough to save Christmas from the most unrelenting Grinch of all: the wave of holiday advertising that begins in October and seems to gain momentum every year.

We asked readers to tell us their thoughts on holiday shopping, and a majority of the responses we got dealt with consumerism surrounding winter festivities.

Here is a selection of the responses we received, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

Cal Wellander, Saugus, California
I've simplified my Christmas shopping. I don't do any! The day after Thanksgiving I've had all the Christmas joy I can stand, too many people, too much traffic, too many commercials, too big of a sell to purchase foreign junk that no one will ever use the day after Xmas, and too many people going in debt up to their limit on all their credit cards which they'll never pay off before next Xmas. Bah Humbug.

Marilyn Alexander, Santa Monica, California
After announcing, for years, my disgust with the consumerism that fuels Christmas, I have purchased tickets to "Lion King" for my closest family and plan to wrap two gifts, for my toddler granddaughters. I'm planning a meal to share with those who I love, and am giving up shopping in honor of the true meaning of the season, peace on Earth.

Robert Stickney, San Antonio, Texas
I don't care to see any holiday merchandise or advertising until after Thanksgiving. The holiday season has become the retailer's season, not the season of joy and thanks. Stretching it out for the sake of making a few more bucks is not a good thing. The holidays should be a time for family, not for constant bombardment of ads and bargains, especially on the tails of an election year where we are already numb from political advertising.

Carolyn Brenneman, York, Pennsylvania
Best time to start holiday shopping? Never! I use my skills in photography, painting, etc., to make my gifts. Thrift stores, especially those run and supported by religious groups, are the best. I refuse to get involved in the perversion that the most holy day of Christmas has been turned into.

Patricia Rose, Raleigh, North Carolina
I am so disgusted by the early shopping push that I refuse to go to any mall after Halloween. I like to enjoy Thanksgiving and then to think about Christmas. This year I am dropping my spending level on "things" and switching to homemade gifts or treating friends to dinner or the theater. The whole Christmas season is one big example of excess and crass greed.

Lisa Stiller, Reno, Nevada
Personally, I am totally disgusted at the consumerism that the holidays have generated ... consumerism that gets worse year after year. Ads for holiday shopping can be seen as early as late August, and the materialistic nature of our society is, in my opinion, something we need to take a good hard look at.

The holiday season is one in which we honor traditions that teach compassion, caring, love, giving and kindness. Shopping, spending and encouraging consumption way beyond our needs runs counter to these values.

Therefore, this holiday season I will not shop. I will give family and friends homemade gifts, cards with messages of love, and time. I will take a look at how I can do more to work to end global poverty and help those in need. Stocking up on more goods has no spiritual value.

I would like to challenge others to rethink the meaning of holidays as they set out on the consumer's trail of materialism. I am sure retailers will not like this message, but that's OK!

Linda Banks, Boulder, Colorado
I am tired of seeing all the news on television about shopping! Not all of us are the big consumers you are portraying. Maybe it's entertaining to see people fighting their way into malls to buy things, but enough is enough. I buy gifts, but I am embarrassed by all the footage of people getting into fights for Playstations and Tickle Me Elmos. Please, stop contributing to the madness!

Aaron Hinkley, Houston, Texas
I never buy anything on "Black Friday" as it is also "Buy Nothing Day," a protest against consumerism. Even more important, the day after Thanksgiving is an excellent opportunity to sleep in, which is more pleasurable than getting a bargain on something nobody really needed to begin with. I honestly don't think the sale prices are worth the stress and aggravation of having to fight off fellow consumers just to get them. Standing on line in the cold early in the morning just to save a few dollars isn't my idea of a good time. Christmas isn't about material things anyway. I think all this emphasis on sales and buying stuff sends the wrong kind of message to one another. Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation of the second person of the Holy Trinity. You would think that in a country with so many people professing to be Christians, the Christmas season would be treated more reverentially than the displays of consumerist excess you see on the day after Thanksgiving. It is as if after giving thanks for what they have one day, they have to run out and get more the next. Not only is it perverse, it is contrary to the Gospel message.




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