I biked down to the Brodie Lane Big Box cluster somewhere around the end of September, clad in flip flops and cutoffs due to the triple digit late afternoon temperature. I needed some things, so I entered the Linens, Bath, Things, and Beyond store, leaning into the air conditioning blast as I crossed the threshold. I passed through the front area of the store, which was populated with bedraggled new wives returning unadvisable gifts that could be blamed upon registry scanner gun click-happy fiancees. I pushed further, past the talking bottle openers, Chinese novelty flotsam, and finally to the end-of-summer jetsam. Behind these, a grand facade of red and green decorations rose thirty feet, a plastic-wrapped monument to the great economic force that is Christmas.
I muttered to myself, "September!" then pushed onward to purchase my things.
Before becoming a business owner, I would curse the mania, which had hijacked the great Christian holiday and subsumed the most innocent of Jewish holidays, Hanukkah, into its consumeristic grip. I shook my fist at the heavens, decrying the poor taste, nay, blasphemy of it all! But perspectives do change... anyone who has spent a lot of time with Quickbooks, with all its pluses and minuses, begins to read between the lines of life a little differently. I once employed a soupmaker who brought a backpack to work covered with sloganistic pins and patches, one of which read, "Capitalism Kills." My silent response, obviously, was, "It also provides your paycheck."
So yes, my perspective on the Holiday Shopping Season has shifted somewhat over the past years. Though I still bristle at its calendar sprawl (the aforementioned September holiday display), its obvious marketing psychology arm-twisting, and its utterly predictable ubiquity, I have come to see how easy it is to get buy-in from all interested parties. Business owners who want to keep their little engines running and keep everyone happily and securely employed... parents who want to reward their kids for being the lights of their lives... and for people everywhere who hold a great fear of being labeled a Grinch.