Ok, this has been a pet peeve of mine for years. Today I’m gonna rant about it: The Retail Christmas.
Cindy Lou Who had the right of it, I think. We have gotten so wrapped up in the consumerism of Christmas that we have forgotten the spirit.
We went to a bigbox arts and crafts store today for some yarn for a project my wife is working on. When we walked in, the first thing I noticed was the spice in the air. Next thing I noticed was the discounts on all the Hallowe’en stuff. Then, the picture you see with this post. Seriously?
It’s bad enough that some of the big retailers had Christmas stock in and waiting in August, but Hallowe’en hadn’t even happened yet, and already this store had cast it aside in favour of the next big event. Thank goodness they weren’t playing Christmas songs yet.
The stores’ drive to be able to call out “First!” in relation to getting shoppers in for the biggest selling season all year is driving them to ever-greater acts of lunacy. All in the name of the almighty profit.
It wasn’t just this store. A major drugstore chain had skids of Christmas stock sitting in the aisles this morning; just waiting for the word. A popular dollar store had Hallowe’en and Christmas stuff on opposite sides of the same aisle, and a greeting card company rep was reorganizing the greeting card rack in the store to show Christmas cards.
I’m generally not in favour of the government meddling in our general affairs with petty laws (I *know* fatty foods are bad for me, OMA, I don’t need cigarette-pack-style warnings to get the point across), however in this case, I feel that holidays should not be given a 2+ month head start, and should not crossover with the current calendar event. In particular, I think it should be illegal to start with the Christmas crap (sales, music, etc.) until *at least* after Remembrance Day. (Forgot about that one, didn’t ya?)
Truly, the stress of the Christmas season has really put people on edge. Retail workers getting shat upon because “that thing” isn’t available, or won’t be ready in time, or because the line is moving too slow. People turning into ignorant, entitled asses because they have to be somewhere else to get the next thing on their list, so you’d better get out of their way.
The stress and worry of getting the right thing for everyone, finding a way to pay for it all, and still have time and money for the Christmas dinner. At four different households. Oh shit, we forgot Cousin Fran.
I mean, really?
Years ago I started answering with “a gift card” when my wife would ask what we should get someone for Christmas. It used to annoy her. I think she’s beginning to come around to my way of thinking.
Consider this: Most people just buy what they want/need. If they haven’t, is usually too expensive for them. Which means it’s likely too expensive for you. So, you have to probe, hint, pry, lie, cajole, or even beg to get an idea of what they might want. Sometimes you simply have to guess. Chances are pretty good, you’ll get something that someone doesn’t like or want. For whatever reason. This results in that awkward, “Oh. Well, um, that’s nice,” response. Nobody likes this.
Instead, find out what store or mall they like to shop at. Or what restaurant they like to eat at. Then, get them a gift card. Get your usual spending amount, it’s never been a secret anyway. Now they can choose exactly what they want, and be happy. Best part is, being fair with all the family members is easier. After all, a $50 gift card for Johnny is the same as a $50 gift card for Sue. No need to guess. No need to worry about it being the last “thing” in stock, or out of stock. Plus, if the recipient is smart, they’ll wait for a sale and possibly double the value of goods or services purchased.
But, I digress. To sum up this rather long-winded rant (thanks for reading this far), simply: Christmas is in December. There are 24 days before the date. Nothing Christmas related should start before December 1.