December 09, 2006

Commercialized Christmas

By now we’re all busy shopping for those perfect Christmas gifts for everyone near and dear to our hearts. That is, of course unless you don’t celebrate Christmas, which is really too bad because it is such fun. In my search for things whimsical and wonderful I came across some ideas that are a disgrace to the concept of capitalism. I mean really, preying on the desperation of those trying to find something for the person who has everything. How far will they go to pick the pockets of their countrymen? Have they no shame?

First on the list is the whole star-naming racket. Basically you send in your money, anywhere from $24.95 to $139.95, and have a star named after whomever you give the gift. You’re provided with a stellar map showing exactly where your star is, so you can look for it on those clear nights. How romantic, gazing into the starlight with the one so thoughtful to give you the gift. Until you realize it’s really stupid to even try to find the star shown on the map, because you probably can’t even see it with the naked eye anyway. That’s assuming your stellar map is not an exact replica of every other stellar map they’ve sent to all the other hopeless romantics who thought this idea so brilliant. Upon further investigation, I found this, which states very clearly that many of these star naming sites state very clearly that this is a novelty item. Stars aren’t officially named Meredith from Minnesota or Grandma Olga from North Dakota. Basically, when you have a star named for someone, you are buying an expensive piece of paper which means nothing. Lots of people realize this from the beginning, but there are far too many who don’t.

Along the same lines as star naming is the incredible opportunity to buy real estate … on the moon. Yes, you can actually own an acre ($29.99 - $59.99), or even a whole city (from $2,150.00 to $1,155,427.00), on the moon. This website goes into great detail regarding the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the Moon Treaty of 1984, justifying the legitimacy of the sale of this lunar land. The variations in price per acre of land are contingent upon how much effort they have to go through to prepare the gift package itself. For example, if you want to have the deed to your lunar real estate to be framed, you must purchase the $59.99 acre of land. Mind you, you can buy the same acre of land for $39.99 with an unframed deed. And that same piece of land again would cost only $29.99 if you get an unframed deed and fill in your own name on the deed when you receive the paperwork. Coming soon: property for sale on Mars, Venus, and Jupiter’s moon.

The most disturbing gift idea I found was that of LifeGem diamonds. Apparently, you can send the cremains of your dead relative to this place and they will extract the carbon from the ashes. Then they heat that carbon until it turns into graphite. They then take the graphite and place it in a diamond press, which mimics the “awesome forces deep within the earth,” which translates into heat and pressure. The heated and pressurized graphite morphs into a beautiful LifeGem diamond. Now, not only can they extract carbon from the cremated remains of your beloved wife, husband, child, parent, pet, etc, they can extract carbon from a lock of hair, which means that loved one doesn’t even have to be cremated, or even dead, to become immortalized into a precious stone. Prices range from $3,499.00 (1/4 carat) to $24,999.00 (one carat) and they come in many beautiful colors. Ick. Can you imagine having dead Grammy hanging from a chain around your neck? And I seriously pity the person who would spend that much money on turning dead Fido into a sparkling diamond.

The competition for the most touching, the most romantic, and most unique gift of all time continues. You can buy someone the moon and stars, or create a diamond out of your own carbon for your honey to wear forever. Call me an unsentimental shrew, but I’m giving Boyfriend a screaming Slingshot Monkey toy for Christmas.

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