Commerce is the art of exploiting the need or desire someone has for something.

-Edmond de Goncourt (1822 – 1896)

It is so obvious that businesses thrives on consumerism. Consumerism is the attitude that values the acquisition of material goods. I did our last minute shopping today. As expected, the traffic was horrible and hair-raising. Consumerism is so alive today. Makro was full of people with overflowing carts. Recession seem to be out of the window right now. Makes me rethink my post about deflation… or perhaps we are not feeling the effects yet. And us Filipinos has to rethink our idea of huge noche buenas especially when times are harder.

I felt sorry for our neighbor but at the same time thankful for her. She is currently busy planning a “huge” noche buena for the neighborhood. Yes, you heard me, the party is for the entire neighborhood. She said it is her way of saying thanks to her neighbors for patronizing her sari-sari store– the biggest in our small village.

But while I am thankful, I felt sorry for her, since the pressure of giving a huge party is getting to her physically and emotionally. Since groceries and food is far more expensive now than last year, the expectation of the neighborhood is high and she did not want to disappoint everybody since she felt sorry for most of our neighbors are on the class D and E– just too many unemployed people and people living below poverty line. I surmised perhaps all of us owe her something in one time or another.

Anyway, that’s her way of celebrating and my way is another way. Salve at Money Smarts is offering a challenge for a budget handaan. Is there really a budget handaan? Is this possible? Actually my children and I are not going to have a noche buena but I intend to celebrate Christmas tomorrow by giving an extra-special lunch. The menu is simple and straight forward. Like I said, Christmas is about the celebration of family and not about how much gifts we gave nor received. Let us just get back to the real root and meaning of Christmas. Only the big businesses are profiting over the idea of Christmas. I think it is time for us to rethink our values and what we deem as important.