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Color of Money

Christmastime Consumerism

By Michelle Singletary
Sunday, December 12, 2004; Page F01

A few years ago while doing my Christmas shopping, I got really upset while trying to find a Barbie karaoke machine for my older daughter, Olivia.

That darn pink machine was one of the hottest toys that year, and Olivia had her heart set on Santa getting it for her.

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First Law of Shopping: Carts in Motion Stay in Motion (The Washington Post, Dec 12, 2004)
Under the Tree, 1983 (The Washington Post, Dec 12, 2004)
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I knew I had lost it when I broke down in tears because a customer service representative for an online retailer told me the machine was out of stock and would probably not come by Christmas.

Even self-proclaimed penny-pinching folks like me who loathe the way Christmas has become so commercialized can lose their common sense. Can you believe I actually cried?

Someone needed to tell me to get a grip. It was just a toy. I should have realized that my daughter could go on and live a productive life even if she couldn't lip-sync to bad pop songs.

But deep down, even though I try hard not to get caught up in the commercialism of the holidays, I don't want my friends, relatives and especially my children to be disappointed with their presents or lack thereof.

When the holidays come around, it's hard not to overdo it. It's hard to resist the urge to shop till you virtually drop.

Perhaps you need someone to tell you to get a grip.

So let me give it to you straight.

You need to get a grip if you're getting up at the wee hours of the morning to stand in long lines to nab a toy your kid probably won't play with for a hot second. (By the way, the karaoke machine did arrive in time, and my daughter played with it exactly one time.) If you're still shopping for your children even though you've already bought them more than enough, get a grip. Buy them too much and they can't appreciate it all.


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