If there is one thing that bothers me most about commercial holidays, it is the fact that we are constantly jumping ahead to two holidays into the future. Yes, I know that it is a business maneuver to increase sales, but when were business schemes ever for the common good, never mind the common sanity? As someone who has worked at both Shaw’s (a supermarket in New England states) and Walgreen’s (don’t ask me why, bad jobs happen to good people), I have a personal knowledge of the pain of listening to Christmas commercials looped to be heard over and over again in the course of one shift.And I’m sure it’s fairly amusing to press all the buttons on animated toys at once when you get to walk away whenever you choose, but listening to both stanzas of “Jingle Bell Rock” at once while “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and “White Christmas” play adds significantly to the general headache that accompanies customer service. Not to mention, the toys are all dusty by the time Christmas rolls around, and the candy is stale. It’s all well and good to give your parents a gift lift far in advance so they have lots of time to shop, but don’t you think that if you sat on Santa’s lap at the mall on November 1, maybe he’ll have forgotten what you wanted two months later? He does have a few other houses to visit, you know.
All this would be slightly more bearable if the craziness didn’t start the day after Halloween. What happened to Thanksgiving? I find it rather telling that the least commercialized holiday is the one asking us to give thanks. I guess gratitude isn’t as marketable as rotten teeth or piles of presents.
At this point in the year, I can smile when I hear Christmas and Hanukkah music on the radio. Those are actually the next holidays coming up now, so I can think ahead to the near future of walking down the stairs on Christmas morning to the brightly lit tree and an attempt at gathering together peacefully as a family. But when that pillowcase full of candy was still bulging over on my dresser, or when I was tracing my hand to make a turkey, I could only feel aggravation at all the Christmas gimmicks thrown my way.
In a time where everyone is rushing, rushing, rushing, desperate to get ahead, to fill their walls with accomplishments, we don’t need any more incentive to speed through our lives. When we are constantly searching for the next thing, we miss what is right in front of us, and we lose sight of what is important. Skipping ahead to the next holiday only makes people feel more hurried, and they move on to that date in the distant future, and forget about today. Christmas may come but once a year, but the same is true for every day on the calendar. A day doesn’t have to have a greeting card attached to it to make it memorable.