Monday, November 24, 2014

Why I'm a Humbug Before Thanksgiving

I love Christmas.  I really do.

I love thinking about the miracle of our Savior's birth. I particularly love the story of the Shepards.  I love to imagine what it must have been like to see the angels come down and tell them that the very same God who had parted the Red Sea and performed countless miracles, was now a tiny baby born under the most humble circumstances, in a stable.

I love reflecting on the life of our Savior.  His birth would be meaningless, if it wasn't followed by the life He lead, His ministry, His miracles, His teachings, and His resurrection.

There are more secular things I love about Christmas too.  I love that it's a time that we get to focus on family.  I love that both my family, and Robyn's family, have traditions that are near to our hearts.  I love that Robyn and I have been able to embrace them both while creating some new ones that are unique to the two of us.

I love putting up the Christmas tree, and making it pretty.  I love putting presents underneath, and feeling some of the nostalgia of the anticipation I felt for Christmas as a child.

I love looking outside and seeing the untouched snow on a white Christmas morning.  I love how snow dampens the sound so that the world seems so quiet and peaceful.

I love watching people open presents, especially when I got them that perfect gift that they weren't anticipating.

I could list countless other things I like about Christmas, but that's actually not what I wanted to write about with this post.  You see, Thanksgiving is on Thursday, and I am notoriously anti-Christmas before Thanksgiving.

I wanted to tell you some of the things I love about Christmas, so that you could understand that I'm not just anti-Christmas in general.  But to help you understand why I get cranky when I see Santa Clause in a store the day after Halloween, I have to tell you about the one thing I dislike about Christmas.

I hate consumerism.

Look, I enjoy giving gifts, and I enjoy receiving gifts.  But I hate that people feel obligated to buy a present for every person they know.  And I particularly hate that businesses, consumed by greed, have all but erased Thanksgiving, because it's not a profitable enough holiday.

When I see Santa Clause in a store in November, I don't feel like that store is so eager to celebrate the birth of Christ, that they just can't wait any longer.  What I see is an institution that is so eager to make money, that they have to encourage everyone to BUY MORE AND BUY NOW!

I see this issue as particularly prevalent with Black Friday.  I don't have a problem with the fact that stores recognize a big shopping day and therefore compete to have good sales.  I don't have any problem with spending Thanksgiving enjoying the company of your family and then spending the next day searching out something special for them that you think they will enjoy.  But businesses have made such a point in beating each other out to sit on the throne as the most materialistic company, that Black Friday has swallowed Thanksgiving whole, and left nothing in its place.  So many companies now begin their sales on Thanksgiving day, not only taking shoppers away from their families but taking employees away from their families as well.

If you're so eager to buy things for your family, that you can't actually spend any time with them because you need to save a few dollars, then perhaps you're a little too focused on the things and not enough on the relationships.

I hate the consumerist mentality that seems to fill every store around Christmas.  Can we at least keep that part of Christmas confined to December?

How about the rest of Christmas?

Peace on Earth good will toward men?  That sounds like a good thing all year long.

Brotherly love?  Honoring the birth of the Savior of mankind?  I'll take those any month out of the year.

How about seeing something in a store that you think will bring joy to a loved one?  That one even sounds good in July.

Feeling pressure to buy things you can't afford?  Standing in long lines to save a few dollars?  Fighting strangers over the last toy on the shelf?  Those are things I'd like to do away with completely.  But if we have to have them, can we confine them to one month out of the year?

I've long given my Mom a hard time about playing Christmas music all year long.  I've only recently recognized that the reason I dislike Christmas outside of December is that so much of our culture is focused on the consumerist aspect of Christmas when they bring it early that I just think of that when I hear it.  (Even though that is not my Mom's focus at all.)  If we can all agree to let Christmas be about our Savior, about our families, and about love, I might just stop giving my Mom a hard time about playing Christmas music in July.


  1. Totally agree with consumerism. Up here in Canada or thanksgiving Is the second Monday in October. I love that most of November is focus on Christmas (after Remembrance Day.) it's less rushed and more peaceful. But I do not like Christmas being displayed before Halloween. I feel like it's being pushed down my throat. So I just don't go to stores very much. :)

  2. Agreed! I like a good deal as much as (or probably more than) most people, but there is a line between frugal festivity and a focus on the frivolous stuff that doesn't really matter in the long run.

  3. The reason I love Christmas music year round is that it does for me exactly what you are talking about, it reminds me of family, and fun, and the birth of my Savior, and JOY! Christmas music brings me great joy and I don't feel any of the consumerism dilemma when I listen. And I also hate seeing Christmas decorations in stores on Halloween. I also love Thanksgiving and wish we could spend more time focusing on that.


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