Monday, November 3, 2014

Merry What?

In the mid twentieth century when I grew up we had the normal compliment of fall holidays. In September, we celebrated Labor Day by attending the Labor Day Parade. In October, we celebrated Columbus Day by studying the voyage of Christopher Columbus. At the turn of November, we celebrated Halloween with costume parties and trick or treat. In early November, we learned and recited the words of "In Flanders Fields" and wore red paper poppies in honor of those who fought in the war to end all wars.  In late November schools actually taught the story of colonists who came to the new world to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences, nearly starved, and who celebrated their first bountiful harvest with a feast of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was about being grateful to God and family and food. Only with the arrival of the Sears Christmas Book on the day after Thanksgiving did our thoughts turn to the promise of Christmas.

Each holiday was separate and distinct. Sadly, this is no longer so. Today, the fall holidays are but weak punctuation for an annual orgy of consumer spending that begins on Labor Day and ends only after the January White Sales are done.

Labor Day means back to school; back to school means buy, buy, buy. After all, it's for the kids!

On Columbus Day he accomplishments of Christopher Columbus are forgotten in favor of the consumer economy his discoveries made possible. Buy! There are bargains to be had. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Holiday decorations go up on our streets in mid October, the better to light the way for shoppers.

On Thanksgiving, giving thanks, food, football and family are forgotten in the frenzy to get out, find those bargains and buy. Merchants are thankful they can stay open so they can sell, sell, sell, so that customers can spend, spend, and spend some more. And Thanksgiving begins the consumer feeding frenzy that leads up to Christmas and extends after Christmas sales well into January.

Consumers are left not with memories of good times but with a feeling of "What just happened?" and bills that will remind them of their purchases well into the coming year.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I miss the time when holidays were celebrated for the events they commemorated rather than the bargains they provided. I miss the time I could enjoy a Halloween,  Thanksgiving, or Merry Christmas without being assaulted by a strident message to buy, buy, buy.

I protest! I want my holidays back; I intend to take them back. I intend to celebrate each distinct holiday on its own merits.

I intend to buy what I need because I need it and I refuse to join the orgy of buying. I absolutely refuse to participate in the hangover of debt.

How about you?

How will you celebrate the coming holidays?

How long will you suffer the hangover of debt that comes from overconsumption?

Will you celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas or will you join the masses celebrating Hallowthanksmas"?

The choice is yours.

Merry Hallowthanksmas!