Attention, please: Christmas has been moved this year. No, chronologists haven’t decided to arbitrarily reorganize the Gregorian calendar and wreak havoc on the calendar-making industry in the process. Instead, corporate America is attempting to pull the wool over our eyes in a transparent effort to boost profits. They have extended Christmas to include not just the 25th of December but the entire month of December, with the latter half of November thrown in. Thanksgiving, a holiday with almost no profit margin built into it, is the victim of this dastardly plot of marginalization, and I, as an ardent Turkey Day advocate, won’t stand for it!
Why is American Big Business extending Christmas and obliterating one of one of America’s oldest and most-beloved holidays? The answer lies in the revenue the Christmas shopping season brings in for retailers around the country; sales made during the Christmas season rake in more money than sales during any other part of the year. During this month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Americans embark on a seemingly inexhaustible gift-buying frenzy, purchasing presents for friends, neighbors, relatives, and even pets.
While this is all well and good (the month-long shopping spree helps boost consumer spending and goodwill amongst gift-givers), America risks turning the Christmas season into an economic band-aid to help heal the still-raw wounds from the recent recession. Instead of beginning the Christmas shopping season the day after Thanksgiving, as has traditionally been the case, retailers have expanded the season to completely encompass the latter half of November. It’s hoped that this will encourage more people to go out and purchase more to help balance corporate budget sheets. However, in this attempt to make money retailers have shoved Thanksgiving into the background.
Though Thanksgiving has never been a big money maker (how to capitalize on a holiday based around Pilgrims with funny-looking hats is beyond me), its sanctity has, up to this point, been respected. Thanksgiving has always been a time for families to come together, eat, and watch some football. Money rarely entered into the equation; retailers waited until after Thanksgiving to begin the holiday rush. But this year the Christmas focus began well before Thanksgiving. As early as November, stores began decorating for the holiday season, putting up Christmas wreaths and adopting a festive holiday atmosphere in mid-November. Malls have hung up their Christmas banners; downtowns have been festooned with green and red streamers, and two New-York-based radio stations have scrapped their programming in favor of playing “all carols, all the time.” In an effort a ecumenical parity, you can even catch the latest Chanukah special on the TV station of your choice.
As if the endless holiday messages bombarding Americans this year aren’t enough, it’s even possible to stroll through a “winter wonderland” despite the balmy weather we had in November. In the most egregious breech of pre-Thanksgiving sanctity to date, Chase Manhattan has actually transformed a street in Manhattan’s Upper East Side into its version of the North Pole: snow was trucked in, the local storefronts were decked with holly, and a rent-a-Santa was standing outside the Chase branch office, offering passersby a “holiday gift” straight from their most-trusted bank.
Enough is enough. We shouldn’t have to cross through a slice of the Arctic to get uptown in 70-degree weather. We shouldn’t be subjected to Christmas carols 24/7 before winter even officially begins. We shouldn’t have to start our Christmas shopping two months in advance to satisfy a faceless corporation’s profit targets. In short, we shouldn’t have to start preparing for the end-of-year holidays this early! It’s time to take back what is rightfully ours. We need to repossess the relative tranquility of Thanksgiving, a noncommercial, not-for-profit holiday when families should still be able to come together around the table without having to worry about bargain discounts from the Chase Santa. If American companies continue this trend towards a longer holiday season, Thanksgiving risks becoming an obsolete thing of the past, reduced to obscurity because its purpose cannot be twisted to suit the latest marketing ploy. For the collective sanity of those of us who don’t buy into this latest corporate gimmick, we can’t let that happen. Turkey lovers of the world, unite!