I am pissed. The W network started showing Christmas movies already.
It’s bad enough that the stores were stocking Christmas decor items long before Hallowe’en was even on most peoples’ minds, but now this???
From what I remember as a child Christmas was not really on anybody’s radar (via advertising/radio/TV shows) until around 2 weeks before the actual date. I realize it was a different time. People didn’t have access to credit like they do today, and Christmas shopping could not usually be done well in advance – at least not at my house.
People actually saved up to buy things using CASH – imagine that! Or they did without – imagine THAT, dear Blog! So, people like my parents (most people) had to wait until they had the money to “splash out” at Christmas time, and that was not until December, at the earliest.
So the two weeks leading up to Christmas day was when the real “rush” began. Exciting-looking packages were quickly whisked away to secret places while we kids were supposedly otherwise distracted, and yummy foods started appearing in the cupboards and in the fridge. About a week before Christmas the decorating began, with a real tree brought inside and the box of old glass ornaments brought down from the attic. My sisters and I spent many hours creating hand-coloured paper chains and snowflakes with which to decorate the sparsely furnished living room of the old farm house we grew up in.
All of this “beauty” (to my child’s eyes) was taken down on the day after New Year’s Day, to lie waiting in a box in the attic again until mid-December of the following year.
You never had time to get sick of the season because it was here and gone in a flash. Christmas music pouring from the radio did not lose its freshness and was welcomed like a long-lost friend for the short duration that it was on the airwaves. We loved it when the local paper printed out the lyrics to favourite carols so we could sing them together as a family, in the evenings when there was nothing worth watching on the 2 channels we could bring in on our antenna.
Looking back, we didn’t have much and yet didn’t feel the lack, because we weren’t inundated for weeks or months with images and shows depicting the perfectly decked-out, glossy Christmas that supposedly everyone else was having. That we could have too, if we went out and bought it using borrowed money. Like what is happening now.
I do get it, dear Blog, that retail needs to make money. Christmas, being such an emotionally-loaded celebration, is especially good at parting people from their money (real or credit). My dad owned a store for about 5 years when I was a tween, then teen. In fact it was my first job, helping out on Saturdays in the Dutch import store and delicatessen that we owned. My dad used to say that all year long the store broke even and only in December did he make his profit for the year. So I understand why retail is totally behind growing and milking the season for all it’s worth.
And it makes good financial sense for TV networks to produce and air Christmas shows to attract advertising dollars from retailers trying to maximize their own profit potential, so they are all for an expanded Christmas season as well.
But where does that leave me and others, dear Blog, who are Christmas-weary by mid-December? The expanded season does not make me want to spend more money. In fact, it does the opposite. Me and mine are not even doing presents this year.
Mom’s death a week before Christmas last year meant we did not celebrate a typical Christmas season or day. Her illness and death diminished Christmas to some nice little event that was happening to everyone else, not us. Not the megalithic be-all to end-all celebration that is has become for most. And it was still fine. Because we were together as a family, celebrating Mom and being united in our grief.
And that’s Christmassy enough for me, dear Blog.