The turkey has been devoured, the guests have been sufficiently stuffed and at this stage of the holiday we are in our comfy clothes in an effort to recuperate. As I'm typing this, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. This should be a time to rest, reminisce and reflect upon the past and to make plans that look toward the future; a time to reconnect to the people and things that are important to us as families and as a community.
Right about now you should hear the grating screech of the needle that slides across the record as I jolt you back into reality. Reflection, my eye, it’s Black Friday and everywhere around me I see, smell and hear the pitter patter of anxious shoppers lying in wait to attack that “doorbuster” sale item that a near and dear one absolutely, positively MUST have or life will never be the same.
Oh for Pete’s sake. Are we serious?
Before we even got the poor bird out of the store, the radio was blaring the 24-Hour Christmas Carol Channel, there were rows and rows of artificial trees lining department stores and this obnoxious woman dressed in Santa gear was running around the television screen in high heels “counting down” to prepare for the onslaught of fellow shoppers who were out to outdo each other with the “best gift ever”!
Bah humbug, I say.
The worst of them all is the campaign where the “Mom next door” waits for Santa to come down the chimney only to humiliate him with the “I got it before you could” in your face attack on the jolly old elf as she points to the family pet and suggests that maybe “he could fill that stocking.”
Are you kidding me? Do we really wonder where our smart mouthed kids come from? Are we surprised when the Christmas lists that once boasted a request for a sled, a bike or skates written by hand now glare at us with appeals for digital devices, video game bundles and widescreen television screens typed and spellchecked fresh out of the color printer?
Are we that arrogant? What have we done? I understand that the economy needs a boost, but at what cost? Is it too much to ask that we bring back some semblance of gentility to the next 30 days?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to go Christmas shopping. It brings about such a festive feeling to bop from shop to shop, Heck, even the mall can be fun with the giant Christmas tree and folks lined up to get their photo taken with Santa. Christmas cCarols piped into outdoor speakers, greeting friends along the way and meeting new folks who wonder if their grandchild would like the outfit they have painstakingly picked out for them. Throw in a friend or family member to go with, and tons of laughter and warm memories are sure to come my way.
We meet for a little lunch or light supper and the shopping adventure has benefitted all parties involved. It might require a little nap after the fact, but well worth the time, energy and preparation.
Can you picture it? I can. That’s the plan I intend on following this year and every year. I will be gentle and kind this holiday season. I will not camp out in a parking lot. I will not mow over a fellow shopper, I will not cut in line and I will say please and thank you as I go from retailer to retailer trying to find the personal gift that I hope will bring a smile to its recipient. I will smile at passersby and might even hum a holiday tune along the way.
Santa, you have nothing to fear from me. I will be delighted with whatever you may bring to fill my stocking. I am grateful to have a stocking at all. I will leave out the cookies and milk and listen for the sleigh bells.
As for the TV and radio commercials, I can take them or leave them. And those holiday inserts, well, they make for great kindling for an open fire.