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Posts Tagged ‘commercialism’

black_fridayAs those who have followed this holiday blog over the past two years may recall, I take a dim view of crass Christmas commercialism, and particularly the abject feeding frenzy known as “Black Friday” – that morning after Thanksgiving when millions rise in the pre-dawn darkness to stand in line outside retail outlets before engaging in a mad rush to “get the best for less.” And I do mean “mad rush.” This post Turkey-day buying hysteria has escalated beyond all rhyme and reason over the last couple of decades, and last year, as was probably inevitable, someone got trampled to death.

But this year, things will be different – or so Wal mart assures us.  They’re moving the start of  Black Friday to to Thanksgiving morning, and remaining open through Black Friday.

One is tempted to argue – since the hot deals will first become accessible on Thanksgiving proper (and in limited supply) – that this will just make for the same sort of maniacal rush as in previous years, but on Thanksgiving day, rather on Friday.  Besides detracting from time spent with family at hearth and home.

Sound fun? Sure it does! Why relax and enjoy good food and drink with friends and family when you can stress out fighting the hordes of rabid deal-seekers at Wallyworld?

To read previous articles on the subject of  Black Friday, follow the links after the snip, below.

November 11, 2009

Calming the Black Friday Crowds

By STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM

A year after an unruly crowd trampled a worker to death at a Wal-Mart store, the nation’s retailers are preparing for another Black Friday, the blockbuster shopping day after Thanksgiving. Along with offering $300 laptops and $99 navigation devices, stores are planning new safety measures to make sure the festive day does not take another deadly turn.

Last year, frenzied shoppers at a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, N.Y., trampled Jdimytai Damour, a temporary store worker who died soon afterward. To prevent any repeat, Wal-Mart has sharply changed how it intends to manage the crowds.

That new plan, developed by experts who have wrangled throngs at events like the Super Bowl and the Olympics, will affect how customers approach and enter the stores, shop, check out and exit. Each store will have its own customized plan. The hope is for an orderly Black Friday, a seemingly incongruous notion.

The most significant change at Wal-Mart is that the majority of its discount stores (as opposed to its Supercenters) will open Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m. and stay open through Friday evening. Last year, those stores closed Thanksgiving evening and reopened early Friday morning. By keeping the stores open for 24 hours, Wal-Mart is hoping for a steady flow of shoppers instead of mammoth crowds swelling outside its stores in the wee hours of Friday….

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Previous articles on Black Friday from Simplify Christmas–

Why not try doing some low-key shopping locally, and dispense with Black Friday? More fun, less stress, and the money spent locally will either stay in our community or will go towards helping the less fortunate.  A printable 5-page list of local holiday bazaars may be found here. Likewise, Christmas bazaars, and many free/low-cost holiday events are listed at the SimplyXmas Calendar, which is constantly updated from now right through until New Year’s.

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In the video below, “I Believe in Father Christmas,” Greg Lake is singing about a process he went through, that many people go through as they grow older:

1.) The wonder and innocence of Christmas

I remember one Christmas morning
A winter’s light and a distant choir
The peal of a bell, and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire.

2.) The loss of innocence; the realization that “Father Christmas” isn’t real. In a broader sense this verse can be taken to mean the realization that Christmas is very much a commercial thing – the line in the prior verse, “They sold me a Silent Night” bears this out.

And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

3.) His own personal resolution as to what Christmas means. The understanding that Christmas is, in a sense, a “state of mind.” He proffers good wishes upon us, which is in itself an act of charity, then he concludes that “The Christmas we get we deserve.” And that’s really the key to what he’s trying to say. Each of us is free to keep Christmas any way he or she pleases, or not to keep it at all. It doesn’t have to be about commercialism: it is you who makes it about commercialism. The vast advertising media in the United States cultivates a two-way relationship with Christmas advertising: they sell you a concept, and either you buy it, or you don’t. But you don’t have to buy it. You can make Christmas about everything else – about charity, about caroling, about family, about togetherness, about plum pudding and mince pie. Those who are alone may reach out to others, and those who are not alone may reach out to those who are.

Am I saying: Do not buy presents? Certainly not. I am only suggesting, as I have suggested in other posts, that Christmas can be about so much more than presents, and presents will never be able to replace the things that really matter: the togetherness, now, and the memories that we will retain when we are old, long after the presents are forgotten.

Aim for joyful, memorable experiences this Christmas, and let the presents be the icing, not the cake.

They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah, Noel! Be it Heaven, or Hell,
The Christmas we get we deserve.

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It doesn't have to be that way. The choice is all yours.

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Is this the true meaning of Christmas?

Whether one observes a secular or religious Christmas, we are all bombarded each year with messages – both subtle and gross – to buy, buy, buy. It’s no different this year, except that the vast Christmas machine seems to have shifted into overdrive. Watching the evening news over the last week, I note a recurring emphasis on the fact that most major American retailers had the worst October, saleswise, since 1969. While this is certainly newsworthy, the extent of the coverage betrays an array of underlying “details”– (more…)

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The real Bad Santa

To many individuals, the sentiment expressed in this poster is Christmas. Maybe they dislike it, maybe they resent it, maybe they regret it, maybe they long for something different. Or maybe they buy into it. Both literally and figuratively.

The old saying goes, “Time is money.” It’s not true. Beyond estimation, time is worth more than money. This Christmas and all throughout the year, spend time with those you love. With your wife, your husband, your children, your friends. No gift(s), no matter how lavish, can take the place of that.

And as for love: tell them so. Look them in the eye, and say, “I love you.” Almost nothing says it better than that. Since time immemorial.

Time stand still
I’m not looking back, but I
Want to look around me, now.
Time stand still
See more of the people and the
Places that surround me, now.

Neil Peart, “Time Stand Still”

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