The Commercializing of Christmas

by Dorothy Doremus

            Ah, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose.  Oh those images of childhood holidays, the wonder, the joy, the presents.  Yes, presents - nothing can ruin a holiday more than the over-commercializing of Christmas by the retail industry.

            Itís a shame when the holiday season begins in August - thatís right, August - at least that was the way of the store I work in part-time.  It was pretty disturbing to come back from my vacation at the beach to be greeted by a giant snow globe with a snowman inside as holiday tunes were playing from the base.  Whatever happened to waiting till the day after Thanksgiving to start the merriment?  I mean, really, would a few months make that much difference.  I say no.   What was worse was one retailer doing a Christmas in July.  Okay, I know people joke about this all the time, but a real sale?   Come on, how desperate are you for holiday dollars?

            Letís talk about the symbol of Christmas: Santa Claus.  Well, this year Santa made an early appearance at the mall - on Halloween!  No, it was not someone dressed as Santa, it was the man himself.  Parents lined up the kids for their holiday photo and wishes for Chris Kringle.  It used to be a treat to see Santa after Thanksgiving.  My brother would have the biggest list and always wish Santa and his wife a Happy Christmas.

            Now, I love getting gifts as much as anyone else does, letís not kid ourselves, but this morning I was listening to my usual radio station on the way to work and I heard the personalities discussing their Secret Santa grab bag.  One person over spent the $50 limit and told everyone.  Now came the discussion of the group trying to one up each other on gifts by over spending the limit as well. People, itís not the gift, itís the thought, hence the price limit.  Have we really gotten so gift crazy that spending any amount of money is acceptable as long as we outdo someone else.  This keeping up with the Jonesí is going to haunt you someday. 

            I think a gift should be about the thought, not the price tag.  I think we have all become electronically obsessed with our I-Pods and Big Screen HDTVís, and flat panel monitors.  Here is an idea for a gift, if you have all of those things, give back to the community instead of accumulating more clutter, make a donation in someoneís honor.

            Oh the malls - no place else can merriment be felt more heartily. Yeah, with people destroying - and I mean destroying - end displays of clothing. Cursing about the lines at the check out as well as complaining about the incompetent people behind the counter.  People bumping into one another without an excuse me or any other courtesy, manners - you have them, try using them.  I also love the early door specials that people trample each other over, only to find that the bargain item that they had to have at 3am is no longer available.

            I think we need to all have a reality check before we walk into the Best Buy store and consider that most people have survived without an HDTV before today, that most people can listen to radio and not own an I-Pod that plays the same songs, over and over again, that we can sleep in past 3am and still get good deals on gifts.  Most importantly, take time to smell those chestnuts and feel Jack Frost on our nose.  Happy Holidays!


A very special thanks to http://www.hellasmultimedia.com/webimages/ for the graphic art holiday banner.

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