Friday, December 26, 2008

Blackout Christmas? A Christmas Whine & A Christmas Wish by Robert Scrooge Walker

It’s Black Friday the II — second Black Friday of 2008…and one of the largest shopping days of the year, ranking right up there with the day after Thanksgiving for shopping, and of course the merchants are wringing all six hands for our dollars; this even though we are all broke from Christmas shopping. Is there no end to it? Death and Taxes and Christmas Shopping they say are the only sure things in life. And Christmas shopping is enough to “kill a man!” But we’re not here to talk about my sore feet, aching back, and depression over the dwindled bank account, not entirely anyway.

What always amazes this writer about the US merchant class is that they are eternally hungry for more profits that will take them beyond the fantastical profits of the last go round, and there is no such thing as ENOUGH in their vocabulary. I always felt like they are a lot like our children. In that we buy bigger and bigger and more and more, and as they grow older the “toys” get larger and more complicated and involved—from cars of a few inches in length to the sports car, and don’t even get me started on the electronic GOTS to HAVE gizmos and never it is truly ENOUGH. In short, merchants and merchandisers seem as big a money pit as our children and visa-versa. Both groups are hungry, hungry cusses who are in fact INSATIABLE.

It does not seem to compute with either group, EITHER, that we consumers find ourselves struggling thrice as hard to pay the heating bills, electric bills, the you-name-it bills, not to mention all the necessary stuff—from petroleum to Linoleum and gifts for the pets as well as all else.

An electronic set of drums here, a slew of plastic toys there, a bag of goodies to this side, and it piles high beneath the tree, and then there’s the second household to buy for, and the third removed. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and even those once a year folks you see. So it goes, and so dwindles to checking account, followed by the savings account, followed by the credit cards. But it’s not over yet, even though you are at the finish line—Christmas Day! Because there is a DAY after Christmas created for us consumers—a day that is ALL OURS, all for us…created by whom? Was it an idea thought up by Santa? Saint Nick himself or Hallmark? Is there a Hallmark card yet for giving on Black Friday? Even though we have a Black Friday after Thanksgiving, we must needs have another after Christmas. I suspect the hoopla created of these NON-Holliday Holidaze Days was created by Marketing Executives for Macy’s and Target and Wal-Mart and all of Merchantland.

Not that there’s anything wrong with spending until your eyeballs twirl and your wallet is flat and every card is maxed. Heck! It’s the American Way of Life, right? I just think it would be FANTASTIC if for one Christmas in our near future—say our NEXT Christmas if every American decided to MAKE something from their special gift or talent as a gift for everyone on their list. Say you are a carpenter, then you make wooden reindeers for the tree, say you are a cook, you make apple butter for everyone on your list, say you are a writer, so you write a Christmas story for everyone on your list—same story duplicated! Say you are a WHATEVER so you make with your hands, mind, and imagination gifts that cost you only the material required—pine wood, paper, applesauce. What would such a Christmas look and feel like without a single electronic “toy” or gizmo given to a single child, and not a single car gifted to a single adult, and so on? I think it would look a lot like my mother’s and my father’s Christmas.
Call me a BAH HUMBUG if you like but frankly I am soooooo sick of what has happened to Christmas and why our entire economy appears to hinge upon it.

Today no one seems to appreciate the amount of time, for instance a mom and a dad puts into the preparation of Christmas meals. Today no one seems to appreciate that thing called a Christmas card with a written sentiment. Today no one seems to want to spend any Christmas time off with their parents…for instance. I’m just sayin’ –and enough said. OK it’s not true of everyone, so saying no one repeatedly here is being too absolute, but you know what I mean…

Regardless Wishing You and Yours a Joyous Holiday Season and hoist a few for me!

Rob Walker
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Morgan Mandel said...

Well, if you're a shopper the weather around here again is not cooperating. Freezing rain makes it impossible to get to any of the early bird sales today.

Later, the ice is expected to melt. There may be a grace period before the flooding begins. Tomorrow will be storms and lots of rain. I think the stores around here are sunk. They can't recuperate from their losses, with all the dangerous weather that's been going on the last 2-3 weeks.
I bought restaurant gift certificates, dog store gift certificates, anything I could buy at the train station, anything I could get to by walking Downtown within a few minutes, plus online. I did get all the Christmas done, but it wasn't easy. We didn't give a lot of gifts this year, since we've gone to the grab bag thing in the family, but we had a grreat time anyway.

Morgan Mandel
Morgan Mandel

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I've never enjoyed shopping, this year everyone got a check from us and then a few essentials.

We had a great time though, good food which I made--and lots of fun with relatives. We have too many to all get together at once, but some here for dinner Christmas Eve and the next day, then a visit with a granddaughter and her kids.