Mindfulness and Commercialism: A Coca-Cola Christmas
By Maya Talisman Frost
It's Christmas time here in Mazatlan, Mexico.
I can tell by the Coca-Cola Christmas tree in the
plaza facing the cathedral.
In fact, last Friday must have been St. Coca-Cola
Day or something. At sunset, we heard a
commotion. Nothing too unusual about that--
there's always some sort of celebration going on.
I figured it was part of the presentation of the
Carnaval princesses going on in the other local
We went to the roof to look down the street
and saw a procession of red vehicles of various
sizes emblazoned with the Coca-Cola logo. From
convertibles and the backs of pick-ups, lovely
misses dressed as Santa's helpers waved
to passersby. The thumping bass reverberated
off store windows along the street. A blaring
loudspeaker invited everyone to follow the
parade to the Coca-Cola Christmas celebration.
The final fire-engine red vehicle carried Santa
himself, who was perched merrily on several
cases of--what else?--Coca-Cola.
A visit to the plaza later revealed a 30-foot
artificial tree all dressed up for a Coca-Cola
Christmas. The ornaments consisted of glittery
round disks with the familiar logo. A few
six-foot-tall inflatable Coca-Cola cans flanked
a red-bannered stage where ten-year-olds took
turns singing pop favorites.
Everyone was bopping and enjoying the
festivities which concluded with the
Coca-Cola Christmas fireworks display.
Now, back in the States, this type of blatant
commercialism of Christmas would bring jeers
and eye-rolling and perhaps even a few
demonstrators. After all, we parents formed
groups protesting the availability and
promotion of Coke products in our kids'
school lunch rooms. We railed against
the corporate irresponsibility of a company
so clearly contributing to the increased
rates of diabetes and obesity in children.
But here, it's just another reason to celebrate.
If Coke wants to sponsor a parade and a
fireworks display, that seems perfectly fine
with people here. They'll dance to whatever's
playing and enjoy it without getting too hung
up on the politics.
I had to check my cynicism at the door. That's
mindfulness in action--recognizing our
knee-jerk reactions as simply choices we make
about responding in a certain way. We can
choose to respond differently, but first we
need to SEE our conditioned response.
Hmmm. Fire up my outrage or ooh and aah
at the fireworks? I get to choose.
I can be offended. Or, I can just take
it as another absurdity in my day and smile at
the kids belting out ballads on the stage and the
parents dancing with toddlers in the plaza.
It might be "wrong" to enjoy a Coca-Cola parade
or celebrate singing children on a Coca-Cola
stage, but from where I sit, it doesn't feel like
blatant commercialism as much as it feels like
a spontaneous party.
Sure, it's tacky. But it's also surprisingly joyful.
Those smiles were not the result of Coca-Cola--
they were just an expression of happiness
prompted by an unexpected celebration.
And that's the real thing.
About The Author
Maya Talisman Frost has taught thousands of people how to pay attention. Her playful, eyes-wide-open approach to everyday mindfulness has been featured in over 150 publications worldwide. To read her tips and tricks for practical awareness, visit http://www.Real-WorldMindfulness.com.