By Elizabeth Childers
Christmas has arrived. Don’t believe me? Watch cable for an hour or go get a coffee from McDonald’s. “Unwrap a little joy?” I’m still unwrapping my winter clothes.
What happened to Thanksgiving? The holiday dedicated to binge eating while thanking the universe for only having first world problems? Anyone else remember turkey, ham and sweet potato casserole? I do. Or at the very least, what happened to Black Friday, a purely consumer-based holiday specifically to drain our bank accounts and make company profit quotas? Why do marketers insist on holiday specials and music in the stores? And this was starting before Halloween.
Maybe Christmas has been moved up a week so we all can spend time playing with our new gadgets before the end of the world on Dec. 21. That would explain some of this mess, but I think they forgot to include everyone else on that memo.
In my family, Christmas preparations and cheer don’t start until the day after Thanksgiving when my mom’s favorite station starts playing Christmas music. Is a whole month really not enough time for stores to shove their commercial messages down our eye sockets and into our lint-lined pockets? They have put us on the Christmas rat race so early that, by the time we reach our finish line, we’re too exhausted to crawl out of bed and open sweaters, iPads, GPS’s, cameras and puppies.
Obviously, I’m making fun of our commercial dependency that has become Christmas. It seems the spirit of Christmas giving (and I don’t mean of electronics) has disappeared. Even if you’re not Christian, is it so bad to have a time of year when we give a little of our time and good will to a stranger or family who has less than we do? For the last few years, my mother has lamented that she “just isn’t in the Christmas mood.” And I wonder if that’s because of how materialistic we’ve made this time of giving.
One of her favorite Christmas stories isn’t about the best prime rib she ever made or how much I loved the doll house they got me when I was six. Her favorite story is about a stranger in Lowe’s. The man not only helped her get down the tree she wanted while employees were no where to be found, but let her have it despite it being the last one, and the tree his wife had sent him for. He even helped her take it to the car, since it was a nine foot tree.
So this is my way too early Christmas message: screw consumerism. I’m not doing my shopping until the last minute, as it should be. They don’t need my money a day before that. Instead, I think I might spend a few evenings ay my local food bank over break, or convince my family to sponsor a home for the holidays.
Not to be cheesy, but won’t you join me in the true magic of the holiday season, not the Macy’s brand?