The materialistic orgy of spending, debt and overconsumption that we call “Christmas” is a juggernaut. It seems that it will not be denied until it has consumed every vestige of genuine meaning in the holiday season.
Every year it seems the Christmas trees go up sooner and sooner. Now it is common for them to be up even before Thanksgiving.
Christmas marketing in the stores begins sooner and sooner every year. Buy more! Buy now! We aren’t even allowed the peace of Thanksgiving before being pummeled with the consumeristic nightmare that Christmas has become.
I’m convinced that within a few years Christmas will have completely crowded out Thanksgiving, rendering it meaningless except as a feast that is part of the greater Christmas season. This year many stores weren’t satisfied to open on the morning of Black Friday. Instead they opened at midnight, ruining Thanksgiving for the people who work there and diverting the minds of millions from a day set aside to give thanks for what we have, to a season dedicated to acquiring more than we need. Within the next few years I am confident that it will be common for stores to open on Thanksgiving, and to start their special “Christmas” sales that day. If some do it, they’ll all have to follow suit to avoid losing customers. It seems inevitable to me.
The sad reality is that there is a lot of money to be made on Christmas and not so much on Thanksgiving. And in the end, the forces that drive behavior in this country are those selling things. For them, it pays to promote Christmas, because it is oriented around buying things, and not Thanksgiving, which isn’t.
I hope I’m wrong about this. But if we reflect back on how Christmas has been celebrated during our lifetimes, and how it changes more each year, starting earlier and earlier and requiring more and more money, then it seems as inevitable as a rising tide.
But what if millions of us just said no?