Are American Parents Getting Richer, Less Creative, Or Just Lazier?


New York, NY – Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Last week on my way back from Upstate NY I stopped in a supermarket to pick up some groceries and noticed these abominations.  Pre-painted Easter eggs (so I had to take a picture).  For any parents out there who bought these pieces-of-shit for their children this year, I sympathize with your not wanting to get your hands dirty / stained painting eggs, or spending quality time with your children. I’m sure they are a pain in the ass, and would probably mess up a good smock.  Time is money, and painting eggs takes time, and this gives you an easy out to not waste that time.  Let me break down for you why these pre-painted eggs made me want to grab that entire rack and topple it to the floor, making a glistening rainbow of broken eggshells.

One thing I love about holidays in America (as well as growing up poor in America) is that there is a lot of creativity involved with each holiday.  Each holiday has it’s own little art projects that are interactive between parents and their kids…In fact, it seems the less money your family has as a kid in America, the more creative your parents and you will have to get with each holiday.

With both of my parents being artists, my Halloween costumes were all made by hand, from the Robot, to the Pharaoh, nothing was store bought, and all were assembled from scraps, old parts, and salvation army trips.  They were put together with hot glue, duct tape, and spray paint, and they always beat the shit out of the rich kid’s store bought pre-fab costumes.  Half of the fun was putting the costume together, and the time spent on them made them unique, and original.  Pumpkin picking is very much like the poor man’s version of buying a sculpture as you and your family would decide together which pumpkins look best.  The best color, shape, large enough surface area to make a good face.  As a family you would hollow them out and cut jack-o’-lantern faces into them.  You can now buy pre-cut jack-o’-lanterns with battery powered simulated candles.

At Christmas the family can go and pick out a tree together, again, like buying a sculpture.  You and your parents would be visually sizing up a tree for it’s color, volume, symmetry, as well as price, and the next giant mental leap- how it will look in your home.  The other way around this- devoid of creative thought is having a store-bought plastic tree you just unpack each year.  No creative deductive reasoning, group critique, and family bonding.  Making ornaments, hand making Christmas cards, decorating a house or yard with a Holiday theme, building a gingerbread house, making pastries, and even making presents.  All of these things can be store bought- and for lack of time usually are.

But Easter…I never thought they would take away Easter.  Easter is a shit holiday for kids, except for two things.  Painting / Coloring eggs, and THE EASTER EGG HUNT, where you find the eggs you painted which have been hidden by The Easter Bunny.   Decorating eggs the night before Easter is half of the fucking fun.  You practice painting all year in your stupid school, and now you can actually put your skills on a physical 3D object, which a MYTHICAL CREATURE will presumably be impressed by (The Easter Bunny is the original art critic) and will hide for you to find.  With these shitty pre-painted eggs, half of the holiday, the creative “making shit” half, is divorced from the equation.  And you as a parent are actually paying a few dollars more for this privilege!

The theme to holidays – let’s forget the giving, loving, thankfulness, or religious elements, and take this from a child’s creativity perspective.  You both independently, or with your family build something, you prepare, you make the things that lead up to making the holiday special, then the day comes, and you enjoy the things you worked hard to creatively make.

As time is money, money can save you time if you have it.  Buying your way out of having to be creative is always an option when it comes to the holidays.  The odd irony is, by spending the extra dollars to save you time, you are actually robbing your child of some of their artistic family bonding time.  Time they and you can’t get back.  It also chips away piece-by-piece at their overall creativity and sense of wonder.  Do yourself and your kids a fucking favor which will effect their psyche for the rest of their life, take the extra 30 minutes to paint the eggs with your kids.  Memories don’t come pre-painted for $4.99 a dozen.

Written by Cojo “Art Juggernaut”

Written by
Cojo Art Juggernaut

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Artiholics, Art Sucks, and the soon to be launched podcast Artist In Repose, Cojo "Art Juggernaut" (Colin C. Jorgensen) is a NYC based artist, art writer, and occasional photographer.

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