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11/29/04 11:34 AM
Copyright 2004 David C. Loebig

Christmas is Coming and It’s My Turn

Or

It’s My Turn at Christmas

Me, me, me. It’s my turn. I want to write a cynical column about the commercialization of Christmas. It’s an enduring topic for the hip, trendy columnist, so it may surprise you that I would write one.

It’s perhaps more fitting to write about the commercialization of December, which has become the commercialization of September, October and November as well.

You know the column. You’ve read it before. Stores put out Christmas displays in September, November is the build up to the frenzy, and on Thanksgiving weekend society mobilizes to buy stuff on a colossal scale.

You know the shopping drill, too. Traffic, lights, parking lots, crowds, checkout lines, credit ratings, more crowds, more traffic, obligatory company parties, fun parties you prefer but can’t make because of boring business obligations, and then more shopping, traffic and crowds.

Modern Christmas, huh?

Take a jaunt through the Christmas isles. You can’t avoid plastic. Plastic packaging, plastic Santa’s, plastic snowmen, plastic trees, plastic everything. And we use plastic to pay for it. It seems we couldn’t celebrate Christmas without plastic.

Yeah, modern Christmas.

It’s actually my favorite holiday simply for the music. This is the only time we hear those familiar melodies that have come to sound like...well, like the holidays.

We have all the classics by the likes of Doris Day, Burl Ives and Perry Como. And what power there is in “Angels We have Heard on High” from a full choir backed up by an orchestra of trumpets.

Then there are cool versions like Bob Seger’s “Little Drummer Boy,” and Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters doing “Jingle Bells,” and the generation-spanning “Drummer Boy” with Bing and David Bowie. If you’ve never heard the Bare Naked Ladies’ hopping version of “Good Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” have somebody download it for you...er, I mean Santa’s watching, so you should go to the mall and buy the “record.”

And many people sincerely celebrate the holidays. The observances this month are real and meaningful. Even so, they barely cast a shadow on the year-long efforts to market and sell the season.

I’ve heard said that there are fewer and fewer people who remember the day John Kennedy was assassinated. It’s implied that we are losing something as that generation slips into history. But here’s a question: How many people still remember when the holidays weren’t a commercialized corporate project? I think none.

I don’t want to sound too callus (It’s probably too late for that.), but everything is commercialized nowadays.

Back in the day when my father took us kids to see “Chitty-Chitty Bang, Bang” (the best Dick Van Dyke movie ever made about a flying car and pirates), he took us to a wholesome, family movie. Today, we take children to an endearing story perfectly crafted as a two-hour introductory commercial for the merchandise.

And pro sports used to be anchored in the local community, but now it’s more like an industry. The players, leagues, broadcasters and sponsors go wherever the profits are best. And that’s okay. Those are the opportunities available, and I would jump at the chance to make those profits. I just prefer to call it what it is. It’s a corporate profit-driven venture.

Selling and buying is entrenched in our culture. That the news is on hand to cover the mad rush of Thanksgiving sales is enough to make that case, but you can top it off with the commercials and logos and ads we find nearly everywhere. Let’s just call it what it is: the commercialization of everything.

So I’ll take the holiday hype, the materialism and the commercialism. I’ll take it all and ignore it as best I can. That’s my solution.

There it is, my cynical column about over-hyped holiday blather. I invite you to join me in ignoring it all if you like.

I have only one thing to add: Remember to buy Random Digression Brand products for all your gifting needs. If nothing else, it will make ME feel a lot less cynical, and in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?

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Dave Loebig writes and banters out of the Tampa, Fla. area. You can banter with him at RandomDigressions.com.


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