The holiday season has been damn near ruined by commercial madness.
I'm hearing that some families are having their Thanksgiving gatherings destroyed by Wal-Mart and other retailers mandating their employees be working on Thursday morning. Yeah you read that right: a number of stores are opening at noon on Thanksgiving when everyone else will be gorging on turkey and watching football.
I got a bad vibe when stores like Wal-Mart and Target began putting the Christmas stuff out before Halloween. That's two full months of holiday marketing. One-sixth of the entire year devoted to holiday spending.
Now the radio stations are following suit. 99.5 out of Greensboro - which has traditionally not begun playing Christmas songs until the day after Thanksgiving - is already blaring out 24 hours round the clock of holiday music.
Gad-dommit, STOP IT ALREADY!! I'm bipolar dammit! It's already hard enough for me to slow down my mind. I don't need the year to go by any faster! Neither do most other people. But that's what is happening as a result of the extended holiday season: the year is going by faster. Too fast. The holidays should come at us bursting with joy, not creeping upon us like so much unstoppable kudzu.
I'm this close to just calling off Christmas entirely this year. Not only not giving presents but demanding that I don't receive presents either. This ain't what Christmas is meant to be about. It's supposed to be about family, friends, good times, being thankful for what God has blessed us with...
Did we not learn anything from all those years of A Charlie Brown Christmas?
This is going to be the first Christmas that I spend without my mother. A few friends during the year also lost parents. For some, they know that this will be the last time they will have the holidays with a loved one.
Not all the money in the world, no amount of dollars spent, will ever fill the vacuum left by a beloved friend or family member.
Call me sentimental, but it seems like this is a time to be appreciative of what we have now, instead of accumulating mere material "things". I for one would certainly like to have Mom for another Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the rest of my life I will be haunted by old hurts between us that never really got resolved. It would have been nice to have the time to reconcile those and have just a little more time to share. That will never happen. But I refuse to let that be with anyone else that I care for.
This Thanksgiving, I choose to be thankful. This Christmas, if I don't receive anything at all, that's not going to keep me from enjoying the company of those that I love.
When I consider the madness that will no doubt ensue in a few days' time, it makes me almost wish that this country would have a hard crash. Perhaps then it would bring us to our senses. Compel us to get our priorities back in order. Don't get me wrong: I enjoy getting some Christmas presents: it just isn't perfect unless I get a new pair of sweatpants, some LEGOs and at least one Star Wars toy. But is any of that the focal point of my holidays? More like a nice cherry on top.
Anyhoo, Jennifer Waters at MarketWatch has a considerably recommendable story about retailers ruining Thanksgiving in their war for "Black Friday" bucks. You might have already read it 'cuz it's making the rounds quite a lot already. It's enough to make one pause, and forsake heading to the stores at all on Thanksgiving Day.
Who knows: if enough people stay home, maybe the retailers will come to figure out that it's not worth the money to open the doors earlier than sanity allows.