Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas season not too long... just too early

Long Suffering Spouse is not amused that every program, on every channel, is punctuated now by Christmas commercials.

Did you know Wal-Mart has brought layaway back in time for the holidays? No? Seriously? Have you been in a coma?

Chicago's WLIT-FM (Lite FM -- presumably to distinguish itself from all the other, heavier stations on the FM dial) became the "Holiday Lite" this week -- all Christmas music, all the time. The other night the 10:00 news ended with a time lapse presentation of the erection and lighting of the giant Christmas tree at the State Street Macy's (what we diehards continue to call Marshall Fields).

"It's not even Thanksgiving," groused Long Suffering Spouse. "We go from Halloween to Christmas and Thanksgiving is ignored. Why?"

I could answer that: Except for grocery stores, Thanksgiving has no real retail component, thus making it inevitable that it would be overwhelmed and overshadowed by Christmas, Inc. But I know a rhetorical question when I hear one, and I wisely keep my mouth shut.

(For once!)

"Thanksgiving is a nice holiday. It's a family holiday. It's an important holiday," continued Long Suffering Spouse. "Persons of all faiths and traditions can celebrate it. It's one thing that binds America together."

The phone rang at that point and the speech had to be put aside in order to deal with that.

But Long Suffering Spouse is right, of course.

On the other hand, merchants are not going to shorten the most profitable season of the retail year.

Therefore, allow me to make this modest suggestion: Instead of squeezing Thanksgiving off the calendar, why not extend the retail Christmas season past Christmas Eve? Why should we go back to Lady Goo Goo on the radio and Viagra commercials on TV on December the 25th?

Yes, in America gifts are given, and opened, and (in the case of toys) demolished, as soon as possible after sunset on Christmas Eve. But in Latin American tradition gifts aren't exchanged until Epiphany -- the Feast of the Three Kings -- in early January.

Why not let the Christmas music and Christmas commercials continue until the BCS National Championship Bowl on January 9, 2012? That would take in all 12 Days of Christmas and Three Kings and a couple of days beyond. And there a lot of parties in that time... retail opportunities abound. And maybe the retail Christmas season might imbibe a particle or two of the actual Christmas season... wouldn't that be nice?

Extending the Christmas season into January would give Thanksgiving a little breathing room and calm Long Suffering Spouse. I see this as a win-win-win for all concerned. And memo to Christmas, Inc.? Feel free to leave a small gratuity in my stocking this year.

Thank you.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Christmas starts in August over here.

sari said...

I generally refuse to "do" Christmas (listening to the music, setting up the decorations) until the day after Thanksgiving.

That being said, I have already bought a few presents and most of my presents this year I'm making, so I've been feverishly doing that for a while.

My choice is to randomly listen to Christmas music in July, and that doesn't count.

The Curmudgeon said...

@Sari -- Making Christmas presents is perfectly acceptable whenever you get the chance. Did you know most Christmas albums are recorded in June or July?

On Thanksgiving Day, sometime before all the football games, I'll try to watch Miracle on 34th Street. If not then, certainly over the weekend. And the iPod and computer will go Christmas all the time after Thanksgiving, too. Just not before.

@Jean-Luc -- I hope this trend will not cross the ocean.