Beginning with the Baby Boomers, we began to transition from being content with what we have to a sense of being entitled to ever-expanding pieces of the economic pie. We demanded more money, more things, more pleasure. Why has the acquisition of "more" produced so much less - less contentment, less happiness? When the income increases don't come fast enough to keep pace with the want increases and pleasure is not constant, many complain and moan about "hard times." Anyone who has not been through a Great Depression and a world war has no reason to whine.
Most of our demands are a response to marketing. We are assaulted with commercials and ads that assert our "need" for whatever it is they are trying to sell us. When our income is insufficient to meet those newly discovered wants, the spouse goes to work to help pay for them. The kids go into day care, or its equivalent - ever earlier pre-kindergarten. When these children display social malfunction, we find doctors to prescribe drugs to soothe their legitimate anxiety.
With all of the gifts you've bought by now, maybe it's too late to accept the state you're in and be content with it. But it isn't too soon to make a New Year's resolution that next Christmas will be different. As the sales figures pour in and the stock market reacts to whether this was a good or bad economic year, ask yourself what your year has been like. Has more stuff - or its pursuit - assuaged you? If not, maybe you were given the wrong gift.
That's what Christmas is really about: the right gift. Receive THAT gift and contentment will quickly follow.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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