A friend of mine explained that her daughter hadn’t quite figured out where she wanted to be because, “Oh, you know -she’s only twenty-two. You remember what you were doing at twenty-two.”
I paused, then answered, “Well… I was giving birth to my first child.”
I’ve tended to hit life stages a bit early: walking, reading, planning world domination, marrying, birthing, buying a house, and experiencing advanced dental problems.
What does this have to do with the holidays? I’m not really that old, and yet I turn into Ebeneezer Scrooge earlier and earlier each Christmas season.
Instead of feeling happy and festive when I saw a Christmas tree, I felt violated. Spinning inflatable yard ornaments and automated decorations that sang caused me to fear for the future of humanity. Aisles of bright tinsel or Chinese-made ornaments made me sick.
Perhaps I wouldn’t have felt that way if I wasn’t seeing it all in July.
Now that I have, however, I reached and passed my level of tolerance and goodwill to men by October (when workers were hurriedly clearing out all that noxious Halloween stuff on Halloween to hang the Christmas things front and center).
Why do retailers do it?
To be said in my best old, jaded lady voice: It’s all about the money.
Stores make the most money at Christmas. Even if a person doesn’t strictly celebrate the holiday, he will purchase a gift for the people at his job who do. Each of them will purchase something for everyone else. It’s like a tinseled chain letter with actual results.
And, not content with picking a man’s pocket every December the 25th, the retailers have special sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Not only that, but they have scooted Black Friday up so far that it’s at the same time most families are celebrating the best holiday there is.
Thanksgiving in America is pure and simple, and stores have not been able to commercialize it beyond table centerpieces and all the groceries one needs for feasting.
For companies that don’t primarily sell food, Thanksgiving’s a wash. They can’t wait to get it out of the way so that mass commercialism can stampede through sealed cardboard shelving in order to get whatever the hot electronics item is that year.
Every year I’ve hoped that The People will stop. I’ve held out for sanity. I’ve assumed that humans will finally show stores that holding a Christmas sale on Thanksgiving is too much. And yet, greed keeps winning. People move the time of their feast in order to head out and spend money as soon as possible.
I guess they really don’t care, since they keep putting their money where the sales are.
Others might think it’s none of my business what people do on Thanksgiving. It’s their day; let them spend it (literally) how they want. Well, what about the workers at the stores everyone’s frequenting? Did they want to spend Thanksgiving keeping shoppers from punching a cashier?
What about standards? What about bonding with family? What about holding some things as special, or even sacred; removed from the clutching grasp of negative vices and habits?
Back to my old lady voice: People used to care. Families would dress in their Sunday best to go downtown. Neighbors would call on neighbors. No one was open past 9 p.m. and only the doctor was working on Sundays.
I’m not endorsing petticoats and carriages, or even a stop to Christmas sales. I just want a whole, untouched, unmolested Thanksgiving day. I want to enjoy my knitting by the fire while the young’uns play with their stick ball or their jacks. I want to enjoy seeing my children, and their children, and their children.
Thanksgiving needs to be removed from the seeping stain of over-buying commercialism, but that’s not going to happen unless we make it so. I don’t know who we can petition or what official measures we can take, but I do know it’s possible. At the very least, don’t shop on the day. Stay home with your family or friends. Eat. Play games. Bond.
Cyber Monday has better deals, anyway.
Re-cap for this week:
Wednesday, November 14: The Importance of Trying Times, a surgery announcement and PSA regarding activity after abdominal incisions; plus a weekly review.
Thursday, November 15: Skinwalkers, XLII.
Friday, November 16: Winner of The First Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest announced. Congratulations, Bladud Fleas.
Saturday, November 17: How-To Write Terrible Poetry and beginning of The Second Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest (please enter).
My article, What’s the Make, Model, and Year of Your Mental Health Struggle? was published at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Sunday, November 18: Patchwork, a flash fiction for Carrot Ranch inspired by a friend of mine.
Monday, November 19: Convalesced, and released Distracted Momming over at my motherhood site.
Tuesday, November 20: Inspirational Quote by Masercot. He’s a funny guy, but I felt this quote held a deep message.
Wednesday, November 21: This post. 🙂
Enjoy your time with family. Please.