Black Friday, Grey Sunday, Cyber Monday… shop, shop, shop til you drop and if you happen to be religious, try to remember the true meaning of Xmas, if you can. I prefer Xmas in Latin America where gift giving and consumerism are not of Olympic proportions…and where incidentally, recent studies have just reflected, reside citizens in 7 of the top 10 HAPPIEST countries in the world (I won’t tell you where the U.S. ranked, but I bet you can guess). More on that in another post.
What do the holidays mean to you? Are you sick of all the consumer driven holiday ads being crammed down our throats since mid October? What about the stress of gift giving?
I love the holidays but hate what it’s become, which is an excuse to get the American consumer further in debt in the name of corporate profits for the wall street beast and their greedy caretakers who will never, ever have enough, no matter how many billions they make.
So how can you celebrate the holidays without buying into idea that happy holidays must include the brand new flat screen for the family, video game for little Johnny or Janie (or chances are Javier and Maria) and gifts you can’t afford for others you hardly know but feel obligated to give something to?
How about some punk themed Holiday music? Yes, it’s been a tradition since the Ramones who ironically are credited with so much punk history, yet had no problems putting out special Xmas songs and capitalizing on their success. They even had a Ramones cartoon that aired briefly on U.S. TV for God’s sake. Yes, somewhere, somehow the so called punk “purists” who preach that no one should ever make any $ for their music are going to have to come to terms with that big fat fact.
I’m not sure anybody tried more to make the almighty buck more than the beloved Ramones, at least in the punk genre. It continues today as the Ramones are reportedly some of the most litigious estates around. I don’t criticize them for this, I think it’s ok to do this. It’s actually necessary. People have to protect their right to $ from their music. So long as they aren’t picking fights with fans or people or small companies who don’t know any better (and to my knowledge they don’t).
Maybe that is why hip-hop is so popular. There is no hypocrisy or double standard when Russell Simmons buys a golden toilet for one of his massive mansion. Hip-Hop is a blatant money play and the Ramones, as successful as they were, never, ever made Russell Simmons type of $. And even if they had, I’m pretty sure none of the guys would have knelt so low as to take care of their crass physical needs via a solid gold toilet.
But I digress. What does any self respecting punk get on their Xmas lists without selling out or buying into a corrupt system?
Well, I have a couple of suggestions:
These are your traditional Xmas holiday musical classics redone with a punk beat by a variety of artists. The compilation was put out last month by “Punch Bowl Records” . Good idea fellas. I think. Check the compilation out on iTunes here. What do you think?
Once again put out by a variety of artists, but with recognizable names like “The Dickies” and “Stiff Little Fingers”. I don’ t have the CD but it got some decent reviews on Amazon and the samples are cool. Check it out on Amazon here.
3) Give a goat!
And finally, what holiday season wouldn’t be complete without keeping the world’s less fortunate in mind. You and I know there are plenty to go around. I argue, that this is the true meaning of Xmas. You can easily combine your need/desire to buy gifts for loved ones while at the same time helping others by giving charitable gifts given to someone in need in a developing country in your loved one’s name.
I tried it a couple of years ago and it was a huge hit. My mother loved the brood of chickens I gave her (or more specifically to the family in Haiti, in her name) and my dad the goat I gave an African family.
If you’d like to give it a try, do it, see what you think. I predict you’ll be back for even more next holiday season. It’s truly fulfilling.
Here are a just few suggestions:
Which ever route you decide, even if you go to Best Buy and get that flat screen, I hope you have a safe, peaceful and healthy holiday season. Ho, Ho, Ho!
My wish for the new year? May the NRA (National Rifle Association) go away, far, far away or if not, then rename themselves more accurately as (NARKIPA) National Assault Rifle and Killers of Innocents People Association.