There’s still some Halloween candy left – well, at least those maple nut stones and the petrified peanut butter ‘bites’ that break your teeth – but you can hear Christmas music already and we’re inundated with Christmas advertisements.
I thought it was bad enough that Hallmark has been streaming Christmas movies since Groundhog Day, but we hadn’t even reached Halloween until the trees, decorations, and commercials for the holiday season were released. like a happy kraken. At that rate, Macy’s will need to start planning its Thanksgiving parade around Labor Day. If not earlier.
I know the past couple of years have been depressing as everyone copes with the pandemic, a Hades-born election campaign and the cancellation of the Kardashians TV show. People want something to make them happy and feel better. You have to believe that the future will be better and not just a continued descent into the black abyss of despair that has been 2020 and 2021. (I haven’t had any coffee as I write this, so I can seem a bit bitter and cynical. Sorry.)
While I’ve pretty much always enjoyed Christmas when the holiday season arrives, starting the season earlier and earlier in recent years has made me appreciate Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch better.
I grew up to tolerate Christmas marketing, although I think it was a big mistake for businesses to bet so much of their survival on holiday sales. Many businesses now depend on Christmas sales not only to increase their bottom line, but in some cases for their economic survival. In addition to this, the government is counting on the Christmas season to stimulate the national economy.
Meanwhile, many people are spending money they barely have and running into debt deeply in the name of the holiday spirit when they are in fact drawn to the growing corporate greed. (I said I was feeling a little cynical.)
In addition to the usual commercial spiel, there is a so-called supply chain shortage this year. Businesses are creating fear that people won’t be able to get that 86-inch screen 4K HDTV, or today’s must-have video game this Christmas, unless they buy it now. People even worry that they won’t be able to find summer sausage and cheese gift boxes for the last minute holidays.
So they encourage people to buy now, to buy early before the shelves are all empty. Buy before it’s all gone and you look like Scrooge without gifts, they say. Go out and spend, spend, spend! Because that’s Christmas, isn’t it?
Are we not supposed to spend, surpass, surpass everyone? Isn’t Christmas about supporting the economy because it’s the economy that matters, right? Making a profit is the name of the game, isn’t it?
It seems to me that big corporations put a lot of effort into starting the holiday season earlier every year as their worship of money becomes more important than why Christmas is celebrated. I think it’s ironic when the saying “the reason for the season” is used to promote sales.
Instead of putting off Christmas before people have traded their ghosts and elves for pilgrims and turkeys, how about stepping back and reconsidering the priorities. We don’t need to spend huge amounts of money to show others that we love and appreciate them. People shouldn’t have to feel pressured into buying for everyone they know from a distance until they drop, or until the last minute on Christmas Eve, whichever comes first. And we don’t need companies pushing us to shop three or four months before the holidays.
It’s one thing to stumble upon something in June that you think would make a good gift for someone. It is quite another for companies to push us to start Christmas shopping before the official end of summer. For generations, we have done well to have Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then to start the Christmas season. I think it’s about time we resumed this simpler practice instead of having to start before the jack o ‘lanterns collapsed on the doorstep.
♦ ♦ ♦
Side note: Tuesday marks Sweet Pea’s fifth anniversary. I can’t believe they’ve gone so fast for 5 years. As I have often said, she wrapped me around her pinky finger. It’s been like this for five years, but that’s what granddaughters are supposed to do with grandfathers. So, exercising the prerogative of a columnist and grandpa, I just want to say happy birthday to you, Sweet Pea. I love you!