Had to go to the mall last night, because Carolyn needed new sneakers, and the kids had to get presents for an upcoming birthday party. Thank goodness it wasn’t too crowded, and thank goodness even more that the Christmas music, displays, and merchandise have not yet reached their peak level of saturation. Hubby says I shouldn’t get all pissed off about K-Mart having artificial trees set up next to the back-to-school stuff, or Target pumping in christmas carols that you can hear as soon as you get far enough away from the Halloween displays, because there’s nothing we can do about it. Well, yeah – we can buy less, and complain so people hear it (like, say, on the Internet. . .) At the Weight Watchers meeting this morning, the leader was reminding us that each of the upcoming holidays was just one day, and we should keep that in mind so we don’t get completely off track on our programs. It’s hard to remember that, though, when retailers bombard us with reminders of one of those holidays for almost FOUR MONTHS BEFORE.
So when I was reading the Star-Ledger this morning, a letter to the editor titled “Christmas creep” naturally caught my eye. This gave me a big belly laugh this morning, which is not entirely a good thing when you’ve got a stomach bug. The author, Chet Jelinski from Bloomfield, has given me many such amusements over the years. It starts off innocuously enough:
“Thanks for the Oct. 30 piece ‘How the “creep” stole Thanksgiving’ dealing with ‘Christmas creep’, which now starts as early as Septemver in stores and overshadows Thanksgiving. You ask ‘What causes Christmas creep?’ The answer is greed of retailers. More interesting questions are why consumers allow this exploitation of Christmas, why fewer customers complain to stores, and why no one demands that Christmas creep be stopped in its tracks.”
Up to this point, he and I are on the same page, but this is when it gets loony:
“It all stems from Halloween’s ascent in our culture.
“Halloween has expanded and become more depraved, and this allows most consumers to accept Christmas creep so that the gore and devil worship of Halloween will be overshadowed by the Christ-honoring festivities of Christmas (which now begin, it seems, right after Halloween instead of right after Thanksgiving.)
“But God-fearing people are hurt by the overemphasis on Christmas to the near-exclusion of Thanksgiving. In Scripture, Christians are commanded to remember the Lord’s death till he comes, but nowhere are we commanded to observe Jesus’ birth. But the Biblical commands to be thankful are abundant. Thanksgiving, or anything that encourages us to be thankful, should therefore never be minimized.”
You know, though, he does have a point. I know that sometimes, when I’m really into my devil-worship, my husband has to come in and remind me to make dinner, or we’ll be stuck with delivery pizza again. But he does kinda get off track a bit with his scripture point – if we follow it to its natural conclusion, it really means we are overemphasizing Christmas to the near-exclusion of Good Friday and Easter. Thanksgiving being, of course, an American holiday more than a Christian one, despite its origins. And what could make children returning to school more thankful than reminders of the day they’ll be opening presents instead of book bags and pencil cases? I bet they look forward to that a lot more than they do to turkey and stuffing.
Well, whatever bizarre circumnavigation his brain made to get to his point, if it gets even a few more people to protest what has become the Christmas Fiscal Quarter, I’m all for it. And if Christians want to take the holiday back even more and make it their own personal religious celebration, I’m fine with that. We’ll put the artificial tree and ornaments on eBay and spend a week in Aruba. I’ll feel a lot less inclined to strangle Alvin and the Chipmunks by the first week of December if I know that’s coming.