I try to start my day with positive uplifting information. Today was not one of those days. I read in our local paper about Santa arriving in Hurst this weekend.
When I was really young all we had was a parade when Santa came to town. He then sat on his “throne” in the department store and we stood in line to see him. I remember gazing at the wonderful window displays downtown. My Christmas in Illinois was not unlike Ralphie’s Christmas in Indiana. A few years later when I was in third or fourth grade I could watch THE Parade on Thanksgiving Day on television. By that time I was no longer taken to the parade but it was still a thrill to see Santa arrive at the end in his big sleigh. Thanksgiving Day ( or a day close to it) meant the start of Christmas to the children.
Now stores are putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween and sometimes immediately after the Back to Schools sale. And Santa is arriving earlier than ever. November 5? Really? The stores say “they are starting early because there is a demand.” Really? It’s not from mothers who are hassled and harassed every day by young children who demand to know how much longer. It’s not from fathers who traditionally wait until the last day to shop any way. Who is actually causing the demand?
This event is taking place at Bass Pro Shop, which features “fishing tackle and equipment, hunting, camping, marine, and outdoors supplies, plus clothing”. Firefighters are going to pick him up at the “remote sleigh parking area” and drive him to the food court. I’m curious as to who is picking up the tab for this ride.
The shop has a Santa’s Wonderland on display with a crafts section and a train display. The columnist who wrote the news article called it “Occupy Stores event.”
I have accepted the fact that Christmas and commercialism go hand in hand. After all, Macy’s first parade in New York was way before my birth. It was done to draw people to the Macy’s store instead of Gimbel’s. I guess maybe it was in answer to Gimbel’s parade in Philadelphia. I don’t know. Maybe I have that backwards.
That’s not the point. Actually, today I am not certain as to what my point is. Other than Americans have allowed their children to be persuaded and manipulated by mass media and mass commerce from the time of their birth. Little girls no longer are allowed to be little girls. They are bombarded by clothing and behaviors that were once reserved for mid teens. Babies before they can walk are entered into beauty contests. By the time they are three, they are sexual objects. They all want to be like teenagers even when they are as young as kindergarteners. The milk they drink is laced with hormones that start their puberty by second and third grade. Little boys? They have their pressures too.
What does that have to do with Christmas? Santa to me is the spirit of giving. Christmas is a time of wonder for little imaginations. We have turned it into a season of me me me. Parents go into debt trying to satisfy the greed they nourish in their children that so often starts with early Christmas.
Almost two months is an awfully long time for children to have to wait. Seven weeks is an eternity. If Santa comes the first weekend in November, by Christmas all the joyous feelings will long be gone. Attention spans are just not that long. Anticipation will be replaced by apathy. Either that or the stress caused by the unending anticipation will cause their little bodies more harm.
My argument has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus which is well known to not have occurred on December 25. So responders, if any, do not have to go into the real “reason for the season”.
It has to do with the insatiable desire to hook customers at a younger and younger age. It has to do with robbing children of their childhood. It has to do with stores like Bass Pro Shops baiting children to try to get their fathers to shop early. OK that’s sexist I know but look at what they sell.
America has gone crazy with Christmas. I think it’s time to restore the sanity. I’d love to hear that this event was a big bust. Not that I have anything against the store. My beef is with stores like them who are like the Grinch who stole Christmas! Let’s keep the Christmas season at least confined to the month before the actual date. That’s long enough for any child to have to wait. Otherwise, let’s just keep Santa in stores year round and he can become an ignored fixture that kids pass by without paying any attention. We can then admit that there is no longer a “season” for joy and GIVING!