Working retail, you see things at Christmas that make you find humanity somewhat lacking. People fighting over sales items, bickering while in line, complaining about the smallest thing. These things get worse every year it seems. The other day, December 21st, our stores visual team began taking down the christmas decorations. I was appalled. They were in such a hurry to put them up in October, wouldn't you wait until at least the day AFTER Christmas to take them down? I began to think about the correlation of the rush to Christmas (marketing) and the quick (early) removal of the decorations (props).
When I was a kid, stores employed people who would work overnight after Thanksgiving day to decorate for Christmas. The same people would work overnight after New Years Day to remove the decorations. This kept Christmas in a limited time frame, and it kept the holiday by itself. Now, we start seeing decorations before Halloween, and they're gone two days before Christmas which dilutes the holiday to a marketing gimmick. People feel pressured to buy things, even if they don't need it. The whole "buy more, save more" culture comes into play and the sales kick in.
The guilt buttons start getting pushed early. "Get your child his (or her) one wish this holiday season", or "Don't forget your wifes deepest christmas wish" make you push to obtain one or more high priced, hard to get items that are the "hot" gift items of the year. Besides Valentines day, Christmas is also one of the most jewelry related days of the year as many choose to propose under the lights of a Christmas tree. All these expectations, ads, sales, and rushed holiday endings lead to stress on the human psyche. Is this really what Christmas is about?
I have but one wish for Christmas this year....return.
Return to the old ways of Christmas, back when it was a holiday, not a sale.
Return the men and women abroad in the service of their country home to their family and friends
Return to the days when Christmas wasn't just a day, but a living thought of generosity all year round.
Return...not quite as simple as the word sounds, but something worth hoping for. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happier New Year. I also wish you all the peace, love, and happiness that you can take. As always remember those who can't be home for the holidays. Keep them in your thoughts.