“A bigger, better, basket.” A Lenten Rant

In my mailbox this morning, for the 2nd year in a row.

REALLY?

I’ll let you read it, and please think about what it says in this ad.

“A bigger, better, basket.”

I’ve ranted about this last year, and I will rant about it until those darn kids DO get off my lawn. But I can’t let this go.

As Christians, we’re having to reclaim Christmas, because it’s become something way beyond a gift exchange, right? We blog about things like the Advent Conspiracy, we pledge to reduce our consumption, we offer up “buy-nothing” day for Black Friday. We’re making progress on reframing Christmas as a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus, right? Not a crazy consumer-fest?

When I think about how Christmas got that nutty, it wasn’t Christians banding together and saying that Christmas should be an insane mess of wrapping paper, decorations, and over the top gifts. It was advertisers, companies, realizing that if they played to people’s emotions about the holiday, people would, without thinking, buy more, bigger, and better stuff. I don’t think anyone was evil here, but I think that it crept in slowly, between the two, so that before anyone knew what was going on, Christmas was what it was.

And here we are again. I’ve gotten this catalog from a store that I, admittedly, frequent. I have a love/hate relationship with those big box stores that I won’t go into here, but suffice it to say that I wander around one and pick up needed items (and unneeded items) on a fairly regular basis. I live in the burbs, what can I say.

But this catalog is like a warning light to me of all that can happen with Easter. A bigger, better basket? Really? Now we can’t just enjoy some candy in our basket and maybe an egg….now it has to be this:

Here, have some gender stereotyping for Easter!

Or this:

Because a Dora mermaid says "resurrection!"

I realize that everyone has the right and the choice to do what they please for Easter, Passover, or any other holiday. But let’s see this for what it is: a blatant attempt to build on our habits so that we can overextend our time, our budgets, and our spiritual lives around another holiday. Let’s be conscious, this Easter, of what messages are coming at us, and most of all, what message we’re sending.

Because the only message I want to send is that, unbelievably, inexplicably, God’s will is for life and resurrection.

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3 thoughts on ““A bigger, better, basket.” A Lenten Rant

  1. Great thoughts. I’m wondering… did christians actually create the monster that Christmas has become… I think the constintinian thing we’ve become loves it when we get to think “wow… look at all this attention that our big holiday gets… we’re a big deal!” And now that that is over and done with and we’re getting the sneaking suspicion that it wasn’t about the Christ we recognize, but was stealing a cheap imitation paper christ in order to sell plastic crap, we maybe wish we could take it all back. But we ‘stole’ the winter solstice from something for our own purposes and so maybe civil religion can simply steal it from us for whatever it wants. Now we’re realizing that Easter has become a spring fertility fest with bunnies that lay eggs and chocolate stuff. Maybe we even unwittingly played right into it by proclaiming that the Lenten fast was about denying chocolate or other stuff… I know people who brought soda or chocolate or whatever sugary stuff they’d ‘given up for lent’ and stuck it under their seats at Sunrise service so they could gorge on it as soon as they’d had communion… what sacrament was meaningful and the desire of Lent? To walk to resurrection or just survive long enough to chomp the ears off of a chocolate bunny? Who really knows? Thanks for making me think on a day I was taking off with the boys… Banjo just came walking in and wants lap time so I better go do that.

  2. Love this rant. I’ve long felt mean-spirited b/c I get angry about stores urging us to buy, buy, at Easter. I guess we need a new dress to go with the new life Jesus offers us. It burns me that many people doing all that buying aren’t going to church on Easter. Like “my” holiday has been co-opted by people who don’t actually participate in the holiday. And especially thank you for commenting on gender stereotyping. We host a baby pantry, and I am the only one who is bothered by the gender stereotyping of babies, which we uphold by putting the blue clothes on the boys’ rack and the pink clothes on the girls’ rack. Peace.

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