Commercialism: Christmas and Beyond

18 11 2013

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.

You can find my blog posts on my author website at: http://sharonleehughson.com/blogs/

Beginning in December, all my future posts will only be available at that site. Please click the link and follow my blog from my website. Thanks. 

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4 responses

18 11 2013
Thomas Cochran

I agree, but I blame Christmas less because we “want” all the commercialism with our dollars. But the constant begging for cash is getting annoying. I blame the entitlement culture more than anything. A piece I wrote on my site is about the little children that constantly hound our football tailgate for money for their cheerleading competitions. My charity is designated for people in need, not so you can go to Disney World. I think it echoes your opinion but mine isn’t written as eloquently.

18 11 2013
sharonhughson

Thomas-
I agree that we all want much more than we need. Is it any wonder then that our children think their desire to go to Disney is something they need? We can’t blame the children for being childish, but we parents can accept the fact that our skewed priorities are even more evident in the things which seem important to our children.
Thanks for taking time to comment and for saying I stated my position “eloquently” *blushes*

16 12 2013
Michelle

I agree with everything you say here. Every time you take Christ out of any thing, even if you think it’s only in a small way because it makes advertising easier, it just allows the world to think we want /need (tying into Thomas’ comment as well) all of these bigger/better/newer/brighter things to fill the void that Christ was meant to fill in the first place. Taking Christ out, doesn’t even give the younger generations an option to learn what it means and replacing it with an X is making the whole meaning insignificant, commercial and singularly stuff minded. *sigh*

16 12 2013
sharonhughson

Michelle-
It really saps some of the spirit of Christmas for me when I see those Xmas signs and hear people say “Happy holidays” because saying “Merry Christmas” is deemed politically incorrect.
Thanks for adding to the conversation here. I hope you take the time to follow me from my website. Have a wonderful Christmas and new year.
–Sharon

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