Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I hadn't been out in my car for awhile. The rest of the family has satellite radio in theirs, so I didn't notice. But this morning as I was heading out, I was shocked by what I heard on the radio. I mostly listen to two stations. If I don't like a song on one, I hit the button for the other. That's exactly what I did. But when I went to the other station, I did a double take. They were playing The Little Drummer Boy.

I know that station has played Christmas music from Thanksgiving until Christmas nonstop. I thought that was overkill, but this year they didn't even wait until Thanksgiving. I don't even know how long the Christmas music all the time has been going on. Did it start right after Halloween?

It's not that I don't like Christmas music. A week or two would be fine, but this is so over the top, I just avoid the station all together until the day after Christmas when the regular pop music returns.

When I was in college I used to work Christmases at Marshall Fields in Chicago. I sold toys in their huge toy department. The real start of the shopping season was the day after Thanksgiving. That Friday was the busiest shopping day of the year. We didn't open extra early or try to entice shoppers with the kind of bargains they'd trample each other to get. The decorations, the carolers that went around the store, the special boxes for Christmas, and the extra supply of toys was enough.

That tradition has been changing for awhile, but now it's stepped into new territory. I thought having stores open at 5 a.m. with special bargains on that Friday was pushing it. Now, their opening at midnight and Walmart is opening at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving. How much longer until the malls start staying open all day on Thanksgiving and start calling it Black Thursday.

If "they" were trying to elongate the Christmas season because it was such a time of joy, happiness and goodwill, I wouldn't mind. But this is all about getting people in the shopping spirit. It's not even shopping. It's more like hunting. The stores drive the people wild with the promise of something valuable for a low price, get them worked up waiting in line in the dark and cold, then let the frenzied group pour into the store intent on bagging their quarry and heaven help anyone who gets in their way.

I understand the economy needs a boost and Chrismas is the big season for it. But did they have to take out the joy and magic in the process?

18 comments:

H. L. Banks said...

Could so relate to your post. I went to our library yesterday and it was all decked out in Christmas decorations, music playing in the mall, while remembrance day reefs lay on the centopah,and leaves are on the trees. What's with that? Thanks for the post!

Julie said...

I agree completely. It's way too early, and there is nothing I like about the whole "Black Friday" phenomenon. There is no power on earth that would get me to a mall, or a big-box store, next Friday. Camping out in some parking lot for a "bargain" isn't even under consideration. I will stay home, eat leftovers, and NOT shop! Bah, humbug!

Terri Thayer said...

Starbucks started playing Christmas music this week, too. I'd hate to work there. You'd get awfully sick of it by Dec 1st.

Betty Hechtman said...

I didn't even think about the leaves still on the trees, H.L.. But then here in Southern California its a little different.

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm with you, Julie.

Betty Hechtman said...

Terri,you're right about the Starbucks people. By Dec 25, they probably want to kill Santa Claus.

Monica Ferris said...

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with this post. I remember taking my children to see the Easter Display at Marshall Fields in Chicago one time in the mid 90's. It was so special

I worked at Sears in PA in the early 70's. At that time the Blue Laws did not allow stores to be open on Sunday's. I truly enjoyed my one day off a week while attending school. It was a simpler time.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm hearing now that "Black Friday" is inching its way into Thanksgiving Day. How silly--and how difficult for store employees who'll have to work when they should have the time with their families.

Mary Barton said...

Stores near my home started inching the Xmas stuff out before Halloween was even over. Its too soon! I pretty much shop for interesting gifts all year but the elongating of the shopping frenzy is not appreciated. Plus, I had the same issue with one of my stations starting their continuous Xmas music this past Tuesday and in order to do that they play some really awful albums! Thanks

NL Gassert said...

Christmas before Halloween? Yes, yes. I saw Christmas trees on sale in mid-October. The sad thing is, if you don’t buy it when it’s in the store, it won’t be there in December when you need/want it.

JanG said...

You got that one right, Betty. I've heard plenty of Muzak in stores and seen holiday decor since November 1 (maybe earlier?). It's pretty much wasted on me, and I plan to keep it that way by avoiding the malls unless my clothes all turn into rags at once!

Planner said...

I'm going to avoid all stores as much as possible from now until the end of the year. Internet shopping sounds pretty good about now. And, when I venture into a local store out of necessity, I will be wearing headphones and listening to my iPod with my selection of music and podcasts!

I haven't figured out what sort of personality enjoys going to the stores on Black Friday; apparently, I didn't receive the shopping gene.

Betty Hechtman said...

Anonymous, Marshall Fields knew how to decorate for the holidays.

It was a simpler time. But now with people getting business emails on their phones in the middle of the night, there is no down time.

Betty Hechtman said...

Mary, you're so right about the holiday music they dredge up to fill the time.

Betty Hechtman said...

NL, yes, it seems if you want a hot item, you have to shop early. It seems every year they come out with something in short supply and then manufacture a frenzy about it.

Anybody remember Tickle Me Elmo, Cabbage Patch dolls, Beanie Babies?

Betty Hechtman said...

JanG, I hope your clothes hold out.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, there is definitely something to be said for Internet shopping. My son got tar on his favorite pair of boots while helping me clean our gutters. I was able to find the exact boots online in a couple of minutes.

I think the people who like shopping those middle of the night sales make an event out of it, so it becomes excitng and fun.