Commercialism: Christmas and Beyond

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Two weeks before Halloween, I walk into the local WalMart to purchase some mums. Through the sliding doors and into a time warp.

Five artificial trees decked in lights sparkled to my left. Ahead, rows of wrapping paper, greeting cards and ornaments announced the Christmas season. Uh, what was I looking for again? Suddenly, I’m overtaken by disorientation.

It used to happen on November 1st. Halloween candy and costumes at discounted prices sat beside all the Yuletide trappings. In my mind, even that was too early.

What about Thanksgiving? This is my favorite holiday. This preference has only a little to do with the fact that I love stuffing. And nothing at all to do with college football games (just another form of commercialization, I say).

In American society, every little event is a reason for marketers to put up a promotional display.  Lose a tooth? Here are some envelopes signed by the tooth fairy.

This lambasting from marketers doesn’t just happen inside retail outlets either. Vendor carts at home shows try to sell everything from central vacuum systems to yard maintenance services. In the mall, walking down the expansive thoroughfares reminds me of going to the carnival.

“Care to get your hearing checked?” “Ma’am, one moment and I can show you how to look ten years younger.” (Does he really think I’m going to listen to him after he just called me OLD???)

You’ve been there. You know what I mean. Even your child’s Saturday soccer game is subject to people peddling shirts, snacks and soda. Can’t we just watch our kid without someone trying to extort a dollar?

Commercialization minimizes the significance of events. Maybe you disagree, but it only took one bridal convention to convince me. I didn’t want people hawking their photo services or cake flavors. Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events and should be treated with respect and awe.

Courtesy of embedded-lab.com

When they replaced “Christ” with an “x” everywhere to make advertising easier, my temperature spiked. Then they told me saying “Merry Christmas” was politically incorrect. Offensive even.

The fact that I’m offended when Santa and snowmen are made into ten-foot-tall yard ornaments, while locating a lighted nativity set is like searching for a needle in the haystack? Whatever. My problem, not theirs.

Once all this hype begins, I tend to stay away from retailers and watch even less television until after January 1st. All these advertisements and extra emphasis on shopping drains the significance of this holiday for me. You know, the religious aspect.

I’m not trying to push my idea about focusing on family and faith during December on anyone else. It sure would be nice if I received the same sort of consideration from those who want to push shopping and Santa and reindeer to the forefront of my mind.

Turkey and stuffing are great, but Thanksgiving is about sitting around the table with people I love and sharing our blessings. My favorite Christmas tradition centers on reading Luke 2 by the light of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

I don’t want to think about Black Friday or post-holiday returns. Come January, I don’t want a credit card bill that makes me consider a second mortgage.

What is the sign of commercialism that bugs you the most? Maybe you disagree with me. I’d love to have a conversation about it.

4 thoughts on “Commercialism: Christmas and Beyond”

  1. One of the things that I love about France so far is that the holiday is more considered as a town event. The mayor initiates the lights on the town hall, they have a festival where people dress up in Provencal clothing and do dances and such. I really like it. There doesn’t seem to be as much “buy this junk” or really anywhere near as many commercials at all. One thing I have noticed is the absence so far of Christmas MUSIC which for me is one of my favorite parts of the season, once i find some album that isn’t one of the 12 constantly playing on the radio! But I agree Thanksgiving seems to be a skipped holiday as far as celebration. I think it is BECAUSE there aren’t many companies that can commercialize it. The turkeys are about as far as anyone can get. I think that is why there is less of a call in store, why wait when we can start commercializing early?

    Also there is no Thanksgiving here.so Christmas has the go ahead to start early 🙂

    1. I was thinking Christmas in Germany would be pretty cool. They have entire villages dedicated to the season. For example, Oberammergau where they have the passion play every year. They also do a big Nativity at Christmas.
      It would be nice not to see decorations at every store or read Black Friday ads beginning November 1st.
      Why not a talking turkey for Thanksgiving?

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