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This Saturday morning I witnessed an incredible scene.  Elizabeth needed a few small items for her cooking and art projects. I was the driver. We arrived at a Scottsdale store just as it was opening. A long line of people were waiting outside to get in.

“It’s a half price day,” Elizabeth explained. She would know. She is a pro when it comes to shopping. She has made a science of it.

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By the time, we entered the store, the line was gone.

Inside, hundreds of shoppers were busy attacking the racks and shelves with the fervor of a scavenger at a trash dump or a shark smelling blood.

Eyes fixated on the objects at hand, hands strumming through IMG_2572clothes hangers as if they were guitar strings, they were oblivious to anything else but to get the best bargain they could lay their hands on. Like the women you see in the picture (right),

I just shook my head in disbelief. I could not help but recall the third world scavengers I saw in India digging through a pile of trash.

“Oh my God, this is a disease,” I later said to Elizabeth. “America is infected with the shopping virus.  And its passing it around the world, infecting more people with it than Ebola or the Bird Flu.”

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And when the retailers start to hang out their red Christmas sales signs, tens of millions of people, 72% of them women, charge into stores like a bull attacking the red flag.

“Americans save too little, spend too much and borrow excessively,” says Princeton professor Sheldon Garon in his 2011 book, “Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves.”

In Western Europe and East Asia, governments aggressively encourage people to save through special savings institutions and savings campaigns, he noted. But not in America…

“America is simply in a league of its own. The only people who come close are people in Britain, but they are about 85 percent of the level of American consumption. Germans, French and others are in the 70 percent range, Japanese even a little lower. So Americans spend like no one else.”

Check out this one-minute SOUTH PARK BLACK FRIDAY ATTACK video…

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And the winter holiday is when the shopping virus is the most active. About 80% of all holiday shopping takes place at this time of the year, according to the National Retailers Foundation.

If you want to see the real Winter Wonderland from a retailers’ perspective, check out these charts.

Holiday shopping stats

Of course, it was this writer who injected the antidote against the virus – the “JUST SAY NO!” signs.  It may be as futile as Nancy nancy_just_say_noReagan’s “just say no to drugs” campaign in the 1980s. But it’s worth a try.

For, nothing less than the health of the nation and the welfare or your wallet are at stake. Because most people buy on credit. And the vast majority buy not only the stuff they don’t need, but the things they cannot afford.

To the bankers’ and credit companies’ delight, of course.

“Materialism without Idealism”

All this brought back memories of how I was weaned off Christmas gift shopping and materialism. It was in December 1997. I was returning home to Arizona from my then second home in Western Australia.  To break up the long trip, I spent the night in Singapore.

What I saw left me with a mixture of outrage and disgust. In a city-state in which the Christians accounted for less than 1% of the population, Bethlehem manger scenes a with little Jesus in a cradle and other Christian symbols  were being used by godless multinational corporations to lure the people to join the Christmas shopping frenzy,

When I returned home, I published the piece Singapore: Materialism without Idealism (see some excerpts below).  And I told my family that we will be no longer getting any Christmas presents from me.

“We are all way too fortunate to be spending money on ourselves,” I said. “Instead, we need to think how we can help others who are not as blessed.”

I encouraged my daughters, then both college students, to make gift-giving a year-round practice. In my case, I resolved to help particularly those who cannot help themselves – the children and the elderly.

In the years that followed, my elder daughter became sort of my Christmas “ambassador.” She and her Russian and American friends delivered gifts I bought for the orphanages in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

“Let’s Quit Playing God & Start Serving Him”

Back home, I made Christmas a 365-day per year holiday. As for Christmas Day itself,  well it is a birthday, isn’t it? It is a birthday of a baby boy now over 2,000 years old. And so, I like to celebrate it as such… light a candle, sing a song, perhaps dance a little.

Those are the gifts the boy’s Father appreciates.

Six years ago, on the last Christmas I spent in Arizona before moving to Hawaii, I wrote about that again.  Excerpts from that essay – “Let’s Quit Playing God & Start Serving Him” – are enclosed below.   Here’s one…

When Man tries to play God, he usually fails miserably. 

So it would behoove us all to play God less, and discern God’s will more.  

If we stay aligned with the forces of the universe, we will be happier in this life.

That’s a GUARANTEE you can take to the bank.

 * * *


How would you explain to, say, a 5-year what Christmas is about?

Let’s role-play that scene. This is what I might have said to my grandson when he was five, had he asked that question.

BOY: Grandpa, what is Christmas?grandfather-reading-to-his-grandson-19718677

ALTZAR: Well, Christmas is a birthday.

BOY: Whose birthday?

ALTZAR: Of a little boy who lived a very long time ago.  Do you know his name?

BOY: Baby Jesus.

ALTZAR: Yes. And he is also known as Yeshua or Sananda. 

BOY: So will Baby Jesus get lots of presents for his birthday?

ALTZAR: Yes. Hopefully. If people are kind and generous. 

BOY: So why do I also get presents if it’s not my birthday?

ALTZAR: That’s a good question, my son. A very good question indeed… So should we maybe give birthday gifts only to Baby Jesus, just as you get them on your birthday?

BOY:  Yes, I think so.

ALTZAR: Except that He is no longer with us, you see. So we can’t buy him a toy or a book or crayons. But he can see us and hear us. So maybe we can light a candle for him, toast him with a cake, sing him a birthday song, maybe even dance for him. What do you think?

BOY: That would be fun. Just like for my birthday.

Okay, so stepping back out of the role play… what do you think? Pretty factual, right?I have a feeling that Baby Jesus would like that kind of a birthday very much.

And you never heard the words shopping, Santa, Christmas tree or credit. So everybody can afford this kind of a gift. Everybody can have a Merry Christmas.  All it takes is giving from the heart.

No Lying Santa

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Excerpt from “Singapore: Materialism without Idealism” (Dec 8, 1997)

Singapore has got to be the New World Order’s model city-state. It’s the epitomy of capitalistic communism. Or of communist capitalism. Take your pick… It all seems to boil down to the same thing.


Just like some parts of Manhattan, Singapore is glitzy and glittery, especially at this time of the year. Christmas decorations dominate the downtown landscape. But for the fact that it’s hot and humid here, walking down Singapore’s fashionable Orchard Road at night seems like taking a stroll down Fifth Avenue. Cartier, Bvulgari, Gucci, Esprit, Louis Vuitton, Liz Clayborne… are all there lined up like little NWO soldiers, alongside Starbucks Coffee, Borders Books, Burger King, McDonald’s or KFC. And, of course, Coca-Cola and Pepsi!

Nor are these godless (mostly American) NWO corporations the only ones exploiting Jesus Christ’s birthday in Asia. A Japanese multinational, Hitachi, has also had its name is plastered all over downtown Singapore, underneath its street Christmas decorations. Never mind that Santa Claus, Christmas carols, Christmas trees are all (northern) CHRISTIAN symbols.


Yet the residents of each of these two “Gotham Cities” (Singapore and New York) seem to forget that the first gift of Christmas was not a tie, a toy or a T-shirt. It was a gift of life. It was the birthday of God’s only child. Whom God had sacrificed so as to teach the wayward humans the lessons of love, humility and tolerance… What a waste Jesus Christ’s sacrifice would have been if the NWO materialism were to prevail.

* * *

Excerpt from “Let’s Quit Playing God & Start Serving Him” (Dec 25, 2008)

When Man tries to play God, he usually fails miserably. 

Doctors don’t cure, God cures.  Priests don’t bless, God blesses.  Shamans don’t heal, God heals.  

It would behoove us all to play God less, and discern God’s will more.  

If we stay aligned with the forces of the universe, we will be happier in this life.

How do we do that?  We can start by helping others less fortunate, rather than spending, consuming, wasting Mother Earth’s precious resources on our own selfish gratification, or exploiting other people’s misfortunes for our benefit.

So rather than look for someone else to bail us out, let’s start doing it ourselves.  We could be giving a helping hand to each other.  That would be an act of love and compassion.  That would please the Creator.

We have a choice.  We can earn God’s wrath by trying to play God or allowing others to do so.  Or we can receive God’s love by aligning ourselves with His will.  

Which will you choose?

* * *

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The idea of Christmas as a symbol of love and peace on Earth rings hollow to many Americans who have been participating in nationwide protests against police brutality and a police state  which this Republic is becoming.

The “Hands Up Don’t Celebrate Christmas” Jersey City Mayor’s Christmas Concert is one example of it. Here’s an excerpt from their poster…

“The Mayor of Jersey City is having a free Christmas Concert at The Landmark Loew’s Theatre across the street from Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey, Saturday, December 20th, doors open at 6pm, showtime at 7pm.

In light of the recent grand jury no indictment decision in regards to Eric Garner, Mike Brown and all victims of police brutality, we will gather across the street from Loew’s Theater and meet on the steps of Journal Square at 6pm. Bring a toy or a wrapped gift with names of victims of police brutality on it to donate to the concert and show your concerns against police brutality.

Hands Up Don’t Celebrate Christmas. Buy Nothing. Keep your hands out of your pockets and purses. Profit should not be made off of a system that does not value black life. Avoid the upcoming commercial Christmas.

No Work. No School. No Business As Usual.”



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Here’s a Christmas message from Science Daily. No Lying SantaThose who still like to indulge in Christmas shopping and gift-giving to their kids as a favored holiday activity may think twice after reading this research article.  They are not doing anyone any favors (except the merchants), certainly not their children.

Certain parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthood

Date: December 16, 2014
Source: University of Missouri-Columbiano
Summary: A new study found that parents who use material goods as part of their parenting techniques may be setting children up for difficulties later in adulthood.

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