Wouldn’t it be nice if the stores had the common decency to wait until after Christmas to put all their merchandise on sale? Kind of makes you feel like you didn’t get the best deal last month when the new price is 70% off. How about the new store hours? As many stores as possible are going into “continuous operational mode” starting on Friday, December 20th and closing at 6:00 PM on Christmas Eve, December 24th.
I already have noticed the charitable solicitations dropping off in my mail as well as call volume declining as we get closer to Christmas. Even the bell ringing Salvation Army staff are taking time off as I noticed that many Christmas pots are now unattended. I often wondered if the need was so great, why do we not hear about the poor and the hungry during the rest of the year? Charity during the holidays is a big business. In a prior article, I mentioned that 41% of the $298.4 billion dollars that charities receive each year comes during the six week period form early November through the month of December. Rough math would put that figure in the area of $125 billion dollars.
I had heard that real tree sales were down this year. Although, there appears to be fewer real Christmas tree lots than in years past. There are a lot of variables on how much you would pay for a real tree now but many folks tell me that between $60.00 and $100.00 is quite common.
As I have complained for years, the merchants and the incessant marketing have ruined Christmas. It is just a gigantic commercial holiday having little to do with the birth of Christ. In 2012, holiday sales amounted to $579,000,000,000 billion dollars. For many retailers, the holiday season can represent 20 to 40% of their annual sales volume. A poor holiday season can literally put some store chains out of business.
It is so sad that by Thursday, December 26th, the Christmas Season will slip into the past for another year. Many stores will bring in new merchandise to put “on sale” in an effort to clear the shelves before their Spring inventory. Nothing is sacred. If you ever felt like a pawn in a big chess game, don’t feel alone.
About the only consistent thing each year is what I call the Coming of the Creasters. Churches, both Protestant and Catholic, will be jammed to the rafters with members of their congregation that appear out of nowhere twice a year – Easter and Christmas to celebrate the two most significant feasts in the liturgical year. I have often wondered what would happen if they appeared at the door of their church, which they hadn’t seen since last year and were asked for a ticket to get a seat? I would pay quite a bit to see the expression on their faces.
I feel sad that I have lost that Christmas spirit. Maybe I haven’t lost it as the real Christmas spirit is the birth of Christ which isn’t celebrated anymore.