Friday, November 10, 2006

The War on Christmas: Wal-Mart Surrenders

I thought all those silly conservatives complaining about the lack of Christmas at Wal-Mart last year was, well, silly. No self-respecting American icon of materialism like Wal-Mart would be foolish enough to ignore Christmas, and they didn’t really if you think about it. Maybe the ads said, “Happy Holidays” and the Salvation Army bell-ringers were turned away or was that at Target (for shame). But, rest assured, Wal-Mart was still backing Christmas all the way to the bank.

This year, however, Wal-Mart and other retailers like Kohl’s are officially embracing Christmas again. From the Los Angeles Times
“Wishing for a bigger holiday season after a sluggish fall, the chain said Thursday that 60% more of its merchandise will be labeled ‘Christmas’ compared with last year. And customers will hear Christmas carols as they shop.”
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. This year I am going to celebrate the displays of ornaments, wrapping papers, tacky Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer boxer shorts, etc. I am going to imagine myself a kid and recall the anticipation I felt. The bright colors and warm cinnamony smells will prompt those memories of a time when I didn’t care about materialism and Christmas couldn’t come soon enough or last long enough. As an only child, I tended to get nice Christmas presents but not extravagant ones since as the principal bread-winner, my mother was frugal with the salary from her secretary job. One year it was a pink and white bike. Then, I met Barbie and Midge and set about to clothe them in the finest fashions. Christmas during those years always meant clothes, some of them hand-sewn by my mom, for my doll family, and as I grew older, clothes for me.

This year I am getting ready. I already have a few new ornaments and Scottie bought me a CD of Ray Charles Christmas music to add to my extensive collection. I may not buy much, but I intend to enjoy the days from now until December 25 despite the troubles of the world. And do not tell me it is too early or that it is too commercial or what the real meaning of Christmas is.

And oh yes, thank you Wal-Mart for making Christmas okay again.

Politically Correct Disclaimer: the Alabama Kitchen Sink endorses and celebrates all legitimate holidays that don’t involve snake handling or human sacrifice.


Marion said...

I'm with you, Sheila, I'm going to try to imagine myself as a kid, too! It was such an exciting, wondrous time...each day a lesson in agonizing patience!

It was great!

Sheila said...

So good to see your comment Marion. Sometimes the weight of the world wears us down. And yet, I find I'm at my best when a bout of silliness and frivolity strikes.

RandyW said...

Your post brings to mind T. S. Eliot’s marvelous poem “The Cultivation of Christmas Tree," which begins this way:

There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
Some of which we may disregard:
The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
And the childish - which is not that of the child
For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
Is not only a decoration, but an angel.

Full text of the poem here:

Sheila said...

Randy, I hope my readers will follow your link or seek out the poem. It is quite lovely. Thank you for stopping by again and I hope the world is being kind to you.

Dirty Butter said...

I'm glad to see them recognize the obvious, that it is Christmas decorations that they splatter everywhere in their stores, not Hannukuh or Kwaanza decorations.

It would be appropriate to wish Happy Hannukah to someone you know to be Jewish, or to say Habari Ganu to someone you knew was celebrating Kwaanza, but to do away with all such greetings for fear of offending someone was so politically correct as to offend everyone. At least the dollar signs helped Walmart to realize that. LOL

Jay Croft said...

"that don't involve snake charming or human sacrifice."

What about snake handling?

Sheila said...

Yes, Rosemary, money was probably behind Wal-Mart's sudden recanting of the "Happy Holidays" message.

Jay, I think I should have said "snake handling" which is way creepier than merely "charming" them. I'm sorry my fellow Unitarians, but I can't appreciate or tolerate that sort of weirdness. I hope the UU's forgive me.

Jay Croft said...

Both snake handling and snake charming are dangerous. Better avoid both; I think you're safe from both practices in a UU church.

Sheila said...

Jay, we Unitarians might not ever have snake handlers in the church, but we'd sure study abou the practice in religious education.

My favorite snake quote, "Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?"

Janey Loree said...

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year! I welcome all of you "kids at heart" to my blog, PJ's Paper Doll Cut Out's! Rachel needs your opinion on what to wear in the December 1st issue of PJ's Paper Doll Memories eNewsletter.
It is wonderful that the spirit of Christmas is being embraced again!

Sheila said...

Janey, I hope you get a lot of business this year. The personalized dolls you create are a unique gift for a mom or grandma to give to their favorite little girl. I'll bet you have a lot of fun designing the outfits. Great success to you!

Janey Loree said...

Thank you Sheila. Much success to you and your business, too!

Naomi said...

I've always loved Christmas. It's my favourite time of year, although it has got very commercialised in recent years. Here in England, decorations start going on sale in August/September!!

Sheila said...

Yep, Naomi, same thing here. We still have a choice to concentrate less on the materialism whilest still enjoying the traditions and mood of good will.

Awakening said...

Hi Sheila,
I LOVE Christmas! Even though I am not a lover of shopping, My family and I used to love to go to the Mall of America around the holiday's. Last year I was really disappointed by the very large absence of holiday decorations...a very bland few. I remember when the Mall overflowed with everything Christmas, a wonderland, a feast for the eyes. It was always amazing, up until the last few years. It didn't feel like anything except a plain old mall. Since my Organization and our business partners haven't allowed Christmas decorations for many years and not many homes put up decorations outside, the Mall of America was thee place to get that mega dose of Christmas scenic euphoria.
I really hope they bring back the miles and miles of decorations this year. It just added to my 'favorite' holiday that happens to be in my 'favorite' Season - Winter!

Sheila said...

Hi Awakening, Good to hear from you again. Maybe the Mall of America will get in on the fun too. Although I'll bet these malls and shopping centers have decided months ago what they will be putting up for decorations. I guess where you are, you'd better like winter. Ha. Having endured a Chicago winter where temps reached -26, I am a great fan of winter-Southern style.