Husband & Wife Articles


Shopping with Christmas Values

Parents have the power to affect the culture with purchases

By Teresa Tomeo


Advent is supposed to be a time of reflection and penance, yet too often becomes rushed and hectic as the stores count down the number of shopping days till Christmas.

But did you ever think about ways to incorporate the gift buying into a more meaningful experience that could make a statement about who you are and who Christ is? Did you ever think that shopping could be done with a lot of purpose, not only to provide nice gifts but to engage the culture and counteract some of the ugliness and ungodliness so prevalent in today’s world?

Thanks to media awareness organizations such as the Parents TV Council, it is not only possible, it’s actually easier than you might think. Each Christmas shopping season, the PTC releases its “Top Ten Best and Worst TV Advertisers List.” The list comprises, you guessed it, the best and the worst when it comes to the types of programs companies are sponsoring through their advertising budgets. PTC explains the list is designed to guide shoppers who support family-friendly advertisers “knowing the impact those companies have on today’s TV programming.”

So many of my radio listeners as well as those who attend my media awareness presentations express a sense of hopelessness when it comes to changing the culture. But I truly believe that most people don’t realize how much power they have. What happened with NBC’s Playboy flop this fall is a perfect example. NBC, in conjunction with Hugh Hefner, was doing it’s best to push porn more and more into the mainstream with its new prime-time show “The Playboy Club.” When the Parents TV Council, Morality in Media, and other watchdog groups heard about the ridiculous excuse for a TV drama, they alerted the public. Very quickly, concerned media consumers from around the country not only contacted NBC but the advertisers of the show and suddenly the show was pulled from the NBC line-up after only three episodes. This was a perfect example of how individuals can make a difference. Money talks, and although many families may have less to spend this year given the state of the economy, whatever you spend can say a lot. So do yourself, your family, and the culture a favor. Put your money where mouth or where your faith is.

Before the annual Christmas shopping saga unfolds, take a good long look at the best and worst advertisers posted on the home page of the PTC website. Your efforts can be even more effective if you let the companies know why you are or aren’t buying their products. So go ahead, shop until you drop but make sure you are shopping with purpose and to make a difference.

The Parents TV Council website is

Teresa Tomeo is a Catholic mother, author and radio host whose latest book is Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture. Her website is