Christmas was always a big holiday for me. As a kid I couldn’t wait to rip into those presents on Christmas morning. But Christmas didn’t just mean getting “stuff.” It meant our whole family would visit our extended family and we’d have these amazing get togethers with all of our relatives. I don’t remember what “stuff” I got for Christmas when I was 10, but I remember how every one of those family gatherings made me feel. As an adult, I wish I could bottle that feeling and experience it everyday.
The holidays were a magical time. Yeah, presents were fun, but being with people you loved was even more fun. And the “holidays” were limited to the month of December, which made them all that more special.
The last ten years or so I’ve noticed something, and I’m sure everyone else has too. Retailers are forcing Christmas on us earlier and earlier. I saw complete Christmas displays in October this year! A local radio station held a Christmas music “preview” the weekend after Halloween. Do we really need a preview of Christmas music? How about letting us get through Thanksgiving before shoving the Christmas holiday down our throats? When you celebrate a holiday for three straight months, it’s really not all that special now, is it?
Retailers have turned Christmas into one big money grab. And it’s a money grab we are supporting. Retailers will have you believe the holidays are about gift giving and nothing else. If your kid doesn’t have the latest and greatest, retailers make you believe you are a bad parent. Retailers cry out that you need to make sure your neighbor/co-worker/mail carrier/garbage collector/babysitter/everyone in your life gets a present from you!
What should be a relaxing time of the year is full of stress to so many people. Families go into debt just to buy gifts. And yes, I fully blame the commercialization of the holiday on retailers. However, those who buy into the hype are guilty as well. When are we going to say, “Enough already?”
The last couple of years Thanksgiving hasn’t even been safe from retailers. First retailers opened at 5am on “Black Friday.” Then they started opening at midnight. And last year they started opening on Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving! Does that not strike anyone else as simply sad?
Christmas is no longer a jolly season. It’s lost its magic. Christmas has turned into a three-month-long money grab with stressed out shoppers crowding malls in a zombie-like state. I hear all this talk about the “War on Christmas.” The only war on Christmas is being waged by retailers. All you need to do to figure that out is listen to the battle cry of that retailer insisting you need to buy, buy, buy this holiday season.