Tag: Christmas

Commercialism: Christmas and Beyond

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

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.

Home for the Holidays

No snow flurries accompanied the holiday bustle this year, but that didn’t stop the flurry of activity. Whenever my sons come home for the holidays, things get a little more boisterous around the house.

What’s not to love about being awoken from a deep sleep by your son yelling – at his computer game? Okay, maybe he was yelling at the people he was playing the game with. Isn’t that just semantics? When it’s after midnight and you have to get up at 5am the next day for work, rude awakenings such as this are just – rude!

It’s so refreshing to be quietly enjoying a book on the couch and have your adult son demand, “What’s for lunch?” I don’t know? What are you making me? He’s always so surprised and almost has a hurt tone of voice when he realizes, “We’re on our own for lunch?” Oh, yes, you are on your own.

Look at them enjoying their Christmas cookie tradition
Look at them enjoying their Christmas cookie tradition

I didn’t paint a single Christmas cookie this year. The mess they made and the haranguing they gave each other while doing it was quite entertaining. We managed to keep our most important Christmas morning traditions. We didn’t even have to turn on lights in order to read the Christmas story from Luke chapter two. Oh, the glories of an iPad!We’ve had a few fun moments playing Just Dance 4. “You’d have to do this for hours to burn any calories” (my youngest) has morphed into “I had to take a break after 28 minutes” (my oldest). Something about sitting in front of a computer tends to keep the cardiovascular system from operating at optimal capacity.

On the 29th, Tanner’s girlfriend came to stay with us for a week. We went to a Portland Trailblazers’ game at the Rose Garden that night after picking her up from the bus station.

There were shopping trips to spend gift cards and eating meals out. Returned gifts have been extinct in our household since the invention of gift cards. Of course, judging by the lines at the Customer Service counters, this isn’t true in the lives of everyone.

Christmas morning joy
Christmas morning joy

Holidays meant I didn’t write. I apologize for missing a week of posts on my blog. I had good intentions, but when my sons wanted to play a game or we had to head out for another social obligation, the intentions went to the resolution graveyard. Welcome to January! I’m pretty sure plenty of other new graves will be dug there within the next few weeks.

As much as my “bah humbug” rampaged in the weeks leading up to the holidays, I must admit that they weren’t as stressful as I feared. Isn’t that the way of things? We worry, fret and stress only to be disappointed surprised when things aren’t as bad as we expected.

Happy New Year! What are your goals for this new year?