Holiday Shopping Season

Screenshot 2019-11-08 at 11.53.56 AMThey say you have to pick your battles. For those of you that begin Halloween on September 1st and Christmas on November 1st, I choose not to fight that battle. I just quietly look the other way. That bell cannot be unrung. I want to address something different and perhaps I have stumbled onto something brilliant.

I understand when stores put things out on display for sale. As soon as 4th of July is over back-to-school displays come out. As soon as Valentine’s Day sales pass, you can expect to see Easter merchandise. I am pro- advanced planning. Even for those of us that do not put up one single thing that suggests Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving, you can’t put it up if you don’t have it. Stores with seasonal sections have to put something in those spaces so I don’t begrudge (major chain store here) for putting up displays and stocking shelves for whatever the next seasonal thing will be. Just because you can buy Christmas lights in October doesn’t mean you should hang them up and turn them on (right Jimmy Humphrey?) but like I say, not fighting that battle.

I was taking the 10-year-old little girl to school yesterday. She noticed on her own that Christmas has its own department at Walmart, taking over the entire lawn and garden section. She asked if anyone cared about Thanksgiving anymore because that holiday only gets one isle, which she then corrected to say half of one isle. Have I mentioned that I love this kid? But we discussed it. Christmas is very marketable and has been for at least the past 100 years. I wrote Santa Claus Has Not Sold Out back in 2008. The American celebration of Christmas is basically a commercial enterprise created by manufacturers and retailers. That doesn’t really bother as much as one might expect because Christians, in their own homes if not also at church, can separate the secular observance of Christmas from the religious celebration of the birth of Christ. But here’s what I’m getting at: Retailers have been trying for years to make other holidays as marketable, i.e. profitable, as Christmas. Easter trees? Come on. Fortunately, I guess, Americans love to eat so Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween are big sellers of cakes, candy and other treats. Valentine’s has flowers, cards and gifts, Easter has baskets, egg coloring and new outfits, 4th of July has fireworks and patriotic garb, Halloween has costumes and decorations. All of these things have gotten bigger over the years. Don’t get the wrong idea either. It’s not just retailers pushing merchandise on innocent victims; Americans love to buy stuff. Healthy or not it’s a codependent relationship. Which brings me to Thanksgiving.

All the other holidays I mentioned have their traditions or activities in addition to a meal but at Thanksgiving eating a big meal is the tradition. We don’t really send cards, exchange gifts, dress up or buy fireworks for Thanksgiving. It doesn’t market as well for retailers because there’s just not that much stuff to sell. Which I suggest is a good thing. You find Thanksgiving in the grocery store side of the big box stores; big sales on turkeys as well as pie crusts, fruit fillings, aluminum roaster pans, boxes of stuffing, seasonings, etc. Visit Grandma, roast that turkey, overindulge… occasionally. Give thanks for the abundance we are so richly blessed with. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights… (James 1:17) We’re not just putting positive energy out into the universe; praise God from whom all blessings flow. And maybe the fact that retail marketers haven’t figured out new ways to capitalize on that is a blessing of its own.

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