Thursday, November 15, 2007

THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST

Photo courtesy of the Internet site "Thanksgiving Corner"

NOTE: This post edited on Friday, November 16.

When I first wrote this post, I merely gave a link to a blogger named Jim Sullivan at http://www.jimsuldog.blogspot.com/. I provided the link because he and I share the same view - that Christmas madness is overshadowing Thanksgiving.

Today I realized that I was doing an injustice to Jim by only giving the link to his blog. Since I don't know how to link to a specific post, you may not find it. Therefore, I decided today to reproduce a large portion of his post.

"Thanksgiving Comes First"
By Jim Sullivan, written on Sunday, November 11:


"They’re beating me down. I keep getting up, but I don’t know how much longer I can continue to do so. It’s tougher every time. The soulless bastards have once again begun their push to shove Christmas down my throat a month early. My television has been full of ads for holiday shopping since a full three weeks before Thanksgiving. Certain malls have already dragged Santa Claus out of the mothballs. The shelves of my local supermarket sport cookies dressed up in green and red sprinkles, and my mail is clogged with catalogues touting spectacular savings if I do my shopping NOW. (As a matter of fact, the New York Giants are playing the Dallas Cowboys as I write this, and the camera just panned the crowd. Some boob wearing a furry Santa hat was waving a towel and screaming. If I could have somehow teleported myself to Giants Stadium and wrapped a length of piano wire around his neck, I would have delighted in seeing his eyes bulge from their sockets while the wire sliced his jugular vein. Merry Christmas!)

I shall now go into miserable old fart mode. You’ve been warned.

When I was a kid, Christmas was magical. The lights were colorful and amazing, making the night a warm, bright, wonderful place to be, even if it was 20 degrees outside and the snow was up to your waist in drifts. When you heard a Christmas carol, it gave you the same sorts of butterflies in your stomach that would be associated with love at a later time in your life. Cities and towns put up decorations on the main streets, with the larger municipalities erecting lovely Christmas trees in central spots. A big reason for all of the above working was because it happened at an appropriate time. No retailer (or city or homeowner) dared to breach the unofficial line of demarcation – Thanksgiving. It was an unwritten rule that one holiday would play out completely before another was allowed to be spoken of.

Now? Nobody cares. Whatever you can peddle, whenever you can peddle it, is the mantra. It matters not a whit how many people’s memories are trampled, nor how irreligious your displays and advertisements. The only thing that counts is that you get into the black. Restraint and taste are passé. The more outrageous the spectacle you make, the better for your bottom line.

Make no mistake about it: I’m a capitalist. I believe in a system wherein the market regulates itself. I’m all for everybody making as much money as they can, as fast as they can, in whatever way they can, so long as nobody is physically hurt in the process. I’m not looking to enact laws against early Christmas advertising, nor am I in favor of jail terms for such nebulous concepts as greed. What I AM in favor of is for those of us who decry this incursion upon our holiday ground to stand up and be counted. My hope is that we might make enough noise to affect the situation. If we can’t, then we deserve this despicable state of affairs.

Last year, I began a blog called “Bah! Humbug!” It was, at inception, all about getting indignant concerning the growing encroachment of any one holiday upon another. I asked folks to send me their gripes about holiday advertising – about offensive holiday displays – about anything they deemed lacking in class, basically. It garnered a limited readership. The kind people who sent me stuff to talk about seemed very much in favor of what I was doing, but they turned out to be pretty much the only ones who came by.

I asked folks to stop shopping at places featured on the blog as being particular offenders. So far as I know, these efforts had little effect on anyone’s coffers. Oh, well. We tried. There’s some solace to be had in doing what you believe to be right, even if the end result is negligible.

(As I finished typing that last paragraph, there was an ad for Lowe’s on the tube. It showed a red-and-white clad salesperson and a giant inflatable Santa/reindeer snow globe for your lawn. A woman shopper displayed orgasmic delight at the prospect of finding - and being able to buy - such a monstrosity. I feel like Sisyphus.

(And today is VETERAN’S DAY in America. The official holiday is celebrated on Monday, but the actual day is today. Of course, what kind of money can you make celebrating the sacrifices of life and limb made by courageous soldiers in defense of our country and our freedoms? Let’s sell mass-manufactured kitschy crap, instead.)

I’m going to give it one more try. And I'm asking for your help.

If you believe, as I do, that Thanksgiving should play out before Christmas; that Christmas carols should not be heard on the radio before at least Thanksgiving evening; that advertisers who dare to encroach upon Thanksgiving with their hideous advertisements should be told in no uncertain terms that you will not shop at their establishments; that malls who put Santa Claus on display before Veterans Day has even finished should be made to pay a price; then please consider doing what I'm going to ask of you.

Should you be as incensed as I am concerning Christmas schlock, please post a "Thanksgiving Comes First" entry on your blog. Write from the heart, immediately, while the passion is alive in you, and everybody who visits your blog will know how you feel. I hope that, if enough of us do this, we might have some small effect in stemming the tide.

Please title your post "Thanksgiving Comes First". If we all do that, it will make a bigger impact. If you wish to reference this post, or other posts with a similar title, please do so. It isn't mandatory. I'm not looking to drive people to my blog; I'm just trying to make a difference concerning something that truly rankles me.

I'm a Christian, so I have more than an annoyance factor at work here. I think that cheapening the holiday, by expanding it beyond reasonable bounds, does a world of disservice to my religion. It gives people a false view of it, by making it a greed-fest. However, if you aren’t a Christian, your take on matters is still important; maybe even more so than mine. If you're Jewish, for instance, I'm sure it makes you mad to see your religion's holy days buried beneath this overkill. If you're an atheist, it must truly make you seethe. Let it out. Tell the world that you've had enough."

16 comments:

kim said...

Hear, hear! Halleluah!

Bimbimbie said...

Shops are always too happy to get Christmas up and running earlier and earlier and as soon as Boxing Day Sales are over out come the Easter eggs!

Mary said...

Julie - catching up with you again. Yes, it's always rush, rush, rush to the next holiday so one can't enjoy the current one. This year I'm doing it differently - all part of my 'simplicity' outlook. Just going away for Thanksgiving - Bob and I - enjoying some mountain air and letting someone else do the cooking so we can really savor the tastes, smells and sights of Thanksgiving and be really thankful. Then..........we'll start thinking about Christmas - use what we have to decorate - donate to charities rather than buy adults gifts. Then sit by the fire and remember why we have Christmas...the real reason for that wonderful season!

Thanks for the story about your dear hubby - my goodness what a terrible experience for him and thousands like him - it was a terrible time in the history of this country and now we are going through another. Thank him for me please.

Rowan said...

Christmas starts in the shops here early September, you just have to ignore it until you are ready. We don't have Thanksgiving of course so there is nothing else for them to concentrate on. I love that card in the picture.

miss*R said...

we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here.. so we have christmas from about september... but not this year in this household in Woodford.... oh no... I am following my own wheel on this one :)

Polly said...

Yes - first Thanksgiving, and then Advent. And finally - the 12 day of Christmas.

Suldog said...

Thank you very much! I'm thrilled that you thought highly enough of my words to import so many of them!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sheila said...

I agree 110%.
I saw my first Christmas ad on October 31st.
The stores couldn't pack Hallowe'en away quick enough to start mmerchandising the Christmas stock..!

Leanne said...

Here we have christmas stuff from , as rowan says, from around september.But alongside it in the shops we get halloween merchandise(growing commercially over here) ansd also fireworks for November 5this Guy Fawkes Night. I had a similiar rant on my blog recently about all these calendar dates being merged and marketed together, it offends me too.

Leanne x

Gemma said...

I'm not ready for this either.
Can't believe Thanksgiving is next week...then Katy bar the door. Hey I already got a christmas card LOL!

lila said...

I feel that way too....I even long for a quiet Advent in there somewhere!!!!
BTW, I have computer time now because daughter and hubby are off to the hospital (see my post today)...I'll go up later when granddaughter gets home from her sleepover at a friend's house.

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia, Julie,

I can here from Jim Sullivan's Suldog blog.

I see you told Jim you don;t know how to create live links in a blogpost - if you want to give me your email address in a comment on my blog, I'd be happy to show you.

It's really simple.

Cheers

David

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Hi Julie,

Love the art you choose for your blog! I`ll go and give a birthday wish to your friend.
Great post about your husband. Wars are politics it seems. I`ve heard it said that Iraq is known as the other Vietnam war.

tea
xo

Lady Laurie said...

This is wonderful! I truly do love Christmas ~ but I don't do any decorating until sometime in December. Growing up we put the tree up on Christmas Eve, I guess some people would think that crazy today, but I think it made it more magical. And to tell you the truth if I were to put up decoratins too early I would be sick of looking at them.
Besides, I have always loved Thanksgiving, and hey, this is the first year since Katrina, that I can cook a turkey!!

Carmen said...

I love giving every holiday their respect and time.
I wish there were no costly presents involved, only handmade or books. (Sight)
Know that I thank you for your wonderful lovely words towards Jim's family.
Thank you Dear Julie!

MrsFranklin said...

Hello!
Its my first time visiting and I cant wait to sink my teeth into it.

You are SO right about the holiday madness. At our local Walmart, they started putting the Christmas stuff out when they put up the Helloween stuff. Come to think of it, so did Lowe's.

Our tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving and comes down Christmas night. As we dont do lots of presents and everything is put where it belongs, I dont see the need to leave it out. Its up for just over 30 days this year.

"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" should be banned before December 15 and should only be played once every three hours!