Monday, November 22, 2010

Oprah and Advent Conspiracy

America loves Oprah, yes?

The woman is incredible. She has had her own show for 25 years. And she has done many wonderful things with her fame and finances to help others. However, there is something she does yearly that I'm not a fan of. It SOUNDS like a great idea and for the people who benefit from it, it could be a huge blessing. But I leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Every year around the holidays, she has an "Oprah's Favorite Things" episode. She shares products with her audience that she feels would make a great gift. And then all the audience members receive those items for free.

This year she broke up her "Oprah's Favorite Things" episode into 2 parts. Part 1 aired last Friday and Part 2 aired today. I came home from work and heard my roomates talking about it. Here's what she gave away this year to every member in her audience:

* A Course in Weight Loss: 21 spiritual lessons for surrendering your weight forever, a book by Marianne Williamson
* Andre Walker hair care products
* Baker's Edge lasagna and brownie trays with Ghiradelli brownie mix
* Beecher's "World's Best" macaroni and cheese
* Breville panini press from Williams-Sonoma
* Decoded, a book by Jay-Z
* Elfa Customizable Closet System from The Container Store
* a five-year membership to Netflix
* Judith Ripka Eclipse Earrings
* $100 gift card for Kiva
* Kyocera Advanced Ceramic knife 2 piece knife giftset
* Lafco House and Home Collection Candle Set
* Limited edition "25th Anniversary" Oprah watch by Philip Stein
* Ralph Lauren Cashmere Sweater & Cashmere Blanket
* Lululemon relaxed fit pants
* Four pairs of Nike running shoes
* Nikon digital camera
* 7-day cruise on the Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International
* Round-trip flight on United Airlines to and from the cruise
* a "25th Anniversary" Oprah shirt
* Sony Bravia 52-inch 3D television and blu-ray player
* The Beginning, an album from The Black Eyed Peas
* Tory Burch "Silver Anniversary" tote bag and flat shoes
* Ugg sparkle boots
* a Coach satchel
* Magaschoni tunic and leggings
* Hope in a Jar moisturizer by Philosophy
* Nordstrom lingerie
* Prepara Herb Saver
* Chicken pot pie from Centerville Pie Company
* Garrett Popcorn Shops "Oprah's Favorite Things" tin
* Le Creuset cookware
* Miraclesuit blue jeans
* a jewelry box from Pottery Barn
* Diamond earrings from Dana Rebecca Designs
* a gift card for
* Mini croissants from Williams-Sonoma
* Talbott Teas holiday assortment
* The Book of Awakening, a book by Mark Nepo
* Illuminations, an album from Josh Groban
* Let It Be Me, an album from Johnny Mathis
* iPad

And then to top it all off...what's behind that curtain?

Holy crap. Every person in the audience is going to receive a 2012 Volkswagen Beetle (it will be delivered next May 2011).

My first thought was, "Wow! That is so generous!" We looked at pictures of all the soccer moms in the audience going crazy and crying (the men, too) and it's easy to initially get caught up in the excitement.

But then.

I started thinking about (no offense, Oprah) how this is what's wrong with America. Don't get me wrong. I love America. I am so thankful to live here. But our priorities are all wrong. We are not wise with with our money. We lavishly give out extravagant gifts and cars to people on shows like this...when there are people around the world who have nothing.

I couldn't help but think....what if Oprah added up all the money she spent on her "Favorite Things" - and gave it away. Gave it to people and countries who need it. Clean water, food, medicine, clothes, etc. Think of all the good that money could do. We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I'm totally guilty of buying things I don't need and giving away things other people don't need. I'm definitely part of the problem in America. But I have a new mindset on things like this. I blame Advent Conspiracy. Please tell me you've seen their cool videos?!

Thanks to these videos, I have approached Christmas (and gift-giving in general) differently the past two years. And it makes me wish Oprah could see these videos and do something different next year.

I know I'm being idealistic. But I can't help it.


Haley said...

That's my church! That's my church!

Amy said...

Hi Sarah! Long-time reader, first-time commenter (and friend of your sister, Amy). :) I REALLY liked your thoughtfulness in this post. I like your mission-mindedness!!! I agree with you.

Smarshie said...

Haley, I love your church. I've never been there, but I love it. I think it is incredible that a video can change someone's perspective on gift-giving and the Christmas season. I will always be thankful to Imago.

Amy, welcome! =) And friend of my sister's is a friend of mine.

Emily said...

I SO SO agree with you. Great post.

George Rippon said...

Don't be afraid or ashamed to be idealistic. Those that are, are the ones who make the difference.

Of course the welfare of others should not be forgotten in the pursuit of ideals. This is where many 'idealists' go wrong.