Now is the Time…

…for my occasional rant about when it would be proper to start celebrations and gift buying for Christmas, that is, AFTER Thanksgiving.

Yet in most of the United States, by November first, right after Halloween, Christmas decorations appeared and sales were announced. Sirius’s XM satellite music service shut down the Billy Joel channel and replaced it with Christmas music, too much of it the elevator kind. Some Christmas decorations and sales items were appearing in Walmart in October.

While Christmas has historically been the time to celebrate the birth of Christ, only two of the gospels even mention his birth – Luke and Matthew – and none give any hint of what time of year his birth took place. Some early believers thought it was in April, but the Egyptian Christians decided to celebrate it on January sixth, while others favored the winter solstice. Eventually by the fourth century the Christian Church agreed on December 25th.

Even the Christmas tree had nothing exactly to do with Christmas, but more with non-religious German customs, and wasn’t common even in England until Prince Albert made it a custom of the British royal family in the middle of the nineteenth century.

I can understand the uncertainty about the time of Christ’s birth. I can see why, with the exact date unknown, it made political sense some seventeen centuries ago to agree on a date that matched other celebrations in the hopes of gaining converts.

What I don’t accept is the idea that a religious holiday and supposed celebration of faith should become – cancerlike – a massive commercial sales shill that threatens to gobble up [pun-intended] the comparatively non-commercial celebration of Thanksgiving.

But then, what else should I expect from a religious holiday that was moved to appeal to the pagans, now that it’s been swallowed by worship of another pagan deity – either Plutus [the ancient Greek god of wealth, from which comes the term plutocrat] or Mammon, take your pick.

6 thoughts on “Now is the Time…”

  1. Elena says:

    I agree that most sections of retail put Christmas out there far too early. The exception being Christmas themed craft materials, as many of the crafts (knitting, crochet or embroidery are fine examples) you might be making as gifts take a fair bit of time to complete.

  2. Alan says:

    This has been a complaint which I and friends of mine have had for years. Our complaints fall on deaf ears most of the time, as others clearly do not feel the same. In my area, near Cincinnati, I’ve been seeing Christmas regalia on sale since late August, and by October it was really hitting it’s swing.

    The commercialization of every holiday is a sad fact of life here in the US. Not only the commercialization but the encouragement that these are the times of year to spend money when often times that isn’t the nature of the holiday at all makes it even sadder in my opinion.

  3. Wine Guy says:

    I agree with the comments above, but I must ask:

    Why are we surprised?

    We live in a consumer economy and businesses do what they do mostly because there is demand and competition. If there were not, they wouldn’t do it. Collectively, we have brought this on ourselves.

    1. Collectively… yes. Individually… I refuse to belong to this aspect of the collective. I don’t decorate or Christmas shop until after Thanksgiving. I avoid “black Friday” and “cyber Monday.” And we do celebrate Thanksgiving with friends — with no shopping.

      1. Wine Guy says:

        As do I and, I suspect, many of those here who read your blog a books.

        One of the refreshing commercial entities that has chosen to not participate in ‘black Friday’ is REI with their “OptOutside” campaign. (I cannot bring myself to put the octothorpe in front of it.)

        A few more large entities would be nice. Several more large entities might actually start something real.

  4. Tim says:

    The most recent one here in the UK is Halloween which has crept in via the merchandising aimed at very young children over the past few years.

    I am fortunate to live in a rural area where we are still spared, but I wonder for how long.

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