They Want Our Money, And We're Probably Going To Give It To Them

I’ve never been a big fan of how retailers start pushing the holiday season on us seemingly earlier every year. It was August and the stores of our local grocery store were lined with orange boxes of bulk Halloween candy. On Halloween itself (still October), the orange displays were being replaced with red and white ones with fake snow and tiny reindeer. Only 412 shopping days until Christmas ’07! Start now or be left out! And can we all drop the shopping days left ‘til expression. Let’s be honest. Every day is a shopping day. You can shop anytime you please. Stores are open seven days a week with extended holiday hours. TV channels like QVC and the Home Shopping network want to send all your holiday shopping right to your door, prewrapped and ready to help you experience the joy of giving (even if the giving is really to them in the form of your credit card number). And of course, the internet is always open, allowing you to shop from the comfort of your very own underwear late at night when no one is watching.

And as long as you order by 4 pm EST on Dec 23 and pay an outrageous shipping and handling fee, you’ll have your gifts for Christmas Eve, delivered by someone who needs the money more than you do. (Oh by the way, the national savings average just broke zero for the first time in a few years. People actually spend less than they earned. Which means they have more money to spend on Christmas items – watch as the carefully planned and amazing effective marketing strategies hypnotize you into mindlessly shelling out your hard earned money for things that you may or may not need.)

That being said, I realize that one person raving about how corrupt the season is will never change anything. Sometimes, the old saying, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” is really true.

A couple weeks ago we bought a Christmas tree. A couple days ago, we put it up. Bring on the holidays.

I could try to defend our actions – this being our first tree, we have no idea how many ornaments we should start with. We want to put on some of the ones we have and see if we want a few more while there is still a selection and they are still on sale.

A less defensible, but more realistic reason – neither Rhiannon nor I felt like hauling the tree box downstairs just to have to haul it back up again next week. I may be indignant about the commercialism of the season, but I’m not a masochist. Therefore, we have a Christmas tree set up in our living room.

The evening we set up the tree, we also talked about going out to Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving, just to see what it is like. I’ve never been shopping in a real store at five in the morning. As they say, you’re only young once, and it turns out “Go hopping at five in the morning” is right behind “Travel the world” on my things to do before I die list.

So my list isn’t really that exciting. Or extensive. But by gosh, we’re going to make this the best Christmas ever. Or the most expensive. If retailers have anything to say about it, it’s the same thing.