Good morning. I hope the Christmas Spirit has found some of you, and although the traditional accoutrements are up at my place, I’m not feeling it yet. Tell me, who lives at your place at this time of year? The Elf on the Shelf or the Grinch? Maybe this isn’t a holiday period for you, and that’s fine too, or perhaps you’re one who puts the religious rather than the materialistic aspect of Christmas first, and that’s wonderful. But what in the name of decency happened this year?
For the first time in my 64 years, I feel bombarded to tell the truth. I know the commercialization of Christmas has been a long-standing fact, but it’s getting worse, and this year, it’s hit a new low. Halloween wasn’t even over when the great North American push to buy, buy, buy started. I mean, I know Christmas is the make or break time of year for the retail industry,and I appreciate the fact that the economy hasn’t been as good as we’d all like, but couldn’t they have waited a wee bit? And talk about ads targeting children–it’s been bad, but this year’s hit a new low. I’m absolutely disgusted with the ad campaign being run by one of the larger retailers this year.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas–the music, the lights, the look on the faces of kids, but this year, everything started too damn early. They were broadcasting Christmas movies before Remembrance Day–Veterans’ Day for my American friends. And then came Black Friday–a full week before Thanksgiving for many stores, and the sales, now found in Canada as well as the US last for two weeks. As soon as those are over, will the retail giants rush to have Boxing Day sales before Christmas?
By far the absolute worst are the ads showing kids opening boxes from a retail giant with the words “What did you get?” flashing on the screen. No talk of Santa, nor hugs or kisses, no thank you, just major greed as child after child opens a box with the latest toy, and compares what he or she got with the next bigger, better, more expensive one. It breaks my heart. Sure, some kids will get what’s on their “I Want List” or the “List” they sent to Santa, but hundreds of thousands won’t. When I was a child, the best part of pre-Christmas was waiting for the catalogue to arrive. My sister and I would look through it Santa’s wish book and ooh and aah over all the toys, but we didn’t expect to get everything in the book, and I can guarantee, Christmas morning, we didn’t say “what did you get?” It was “Oh, look what Santa brought!” There was wonder and magic, the same wonder and magic I hope you see on the faces of your loved ones this year.
So, here it is December 2nd, and I’m not feeling Christmas yet. The tree is up, decorated by the grandkids this year, the lights are on outside and the inflatable snowman waves at those coming up my driveway. The snow we had at the end of November has melted away, and there isn’t a significant amount predicted for the near future.. At church, we’ll have the first Sunday of Advent this weekend and the Sanctuary will be decorated. Will I feel it then? Next Sunday will be White Gift Sunday, when we give to the poor and needy of the community–maybe by then… I’ve watched a couple of Christmas movies, read a few Christmas books, but I haven’t started my shopping. Do I need the commercial glitz to get into the mood? I hope not!