Friday, November 2, 2007

Holiday Spirit?

It's with sadness that I announce that Wal-Mart has outdone themselves. Again. A couple of years ago I used to work for them, in the garden center. That year, Halloween took over the aisles of that area of the store, unlike this year where it just took over a couple of aisles by the bike rack, and a group of people who were recruited for Halloween's night shift came in. They then pull down whatever is left from Halloween or summer, whatever is left out there, and Christmas is placed on the shelves as quickly as possible. All of it may not be put up, but the majority of the Christmas merchandise they have received to that point is put on display. This year was no different in that aspect. As I walked by the garden center this morning, you couldn't help but notice all of the greens, reds and golds scattered throughout. But what was different was the huge Christmas tree they put up next to the entrance. I don't recall, in previous years, seeing the blowup displays being put up until closer to Thanksgiving.

This whole thing irritates me.

I love this time of year, as far as the holidays, but I hate the hectic lives that goes with it. I hate the fact that all I have as of yet for the kids are a couple of stocking stuffers. I hate the fact that tonight is their fall festival and basketball practices start full force next week, adding to the busy activities of the season. I can't bring myself to break out my Christmas clothing or even listen to a Christmas cd because I feel like I'm taking away from the effect of being focused on what I should be thankful for Thanksgiving (even though I should be focused on that every day). But not only did I see a Christmas tree at Wal-mart today, I saw an elderly lady with a Christmas sweater on, as well as heard them playing Christmas songs.

On November 2.

It's so not right on so many levels. How are we supposed to celebrate the birth of Christ if we are fueling the commercialism of the holiday? I'm not saying it shouldn't be celebrated with Santa the way we did when we were kids, but to see Christmas decorations up in stores before Halloween even ends kind of takes away from the Christmas magic.

And to hear that Santa will be arriving to the mall, November 17th, an ad we heard on Halloween, on the way tricking or treating. Daughter was excited, as any child would be. But then I have to wonder if this is my kids last year to believe in Santa, or has it already happened but they're afraid to ask. Are they naive enough to think that just because we say Santa is real, then it's true? Or are they smart enough to hide the fact they don't believe, because they're afraid they won't get Christmas gifts as in previous years?

On a marketing level, I understand why Christmas ads and decorations are set out earlier and earlier each year. Christmas is the biggest money maker that a retail store has each year. So sure, they're going to take advantage of that fact and make us feel guilty that we only have "x" days until Christmas.

On a personal level, no amount of marketing understanding can change the fact that I feel this is just so not right. That stores are manipulating a celebration used to honor Christ, and leaving out anything that remotely resembles a religious belief because they don't want to offend those who don't celebrate Christ but celebrate Christmas. Get over it. Christians have rights as well and that includes us being able receive a Merry Christmas instead of a Happy Holiday.

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