Seasonal Madness

by Steve on November 26, 2006

Each year the signs that Christmas is coming appear earlier than the last and with each progressive jump on the season we step deeper into the collective madness of holiday preparations. Decorating for Christmas prior to Thanksgiving used to be considered in poor taste. Now even Halloween is being eclipsed by the retail marketing onslaught which has hijacked the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. Thanksgiving has been swallowed up in the hype and the focus has become bargain hunting. In an effort to best each other and lure in the most customers, retailers are in a race to see who can open first.

Tom Smart for The New York Times

Shortly after midnight yesterday, an estimated 15,000 shoppers pushed and shoved their way into the Fashion Place mall in Murray, Utah. Police soon joined them, responding to reports of nine skirmishes.

Once inside, shoppers ransacked stores, overturning piles of clothes as they looked for bargains. A retailer’s dream — too many customers! — quickly turned into a nightmare, forcing store clerks to shut their doors, and only let people in after others left. The mall even briefly closed its outside doors to avoid a fire hazard.

Do we really need a Tickle Me Elmo bad enough to risk our lives for one? You wouldn’t catch me anywhere near that mess. What happened to the spirit of Christmas, the reason for the season? Want and desire have completely replaced true need in our hierarchy such that greed is seen by many as a positive motivator. Flip on the TV just about any night of the week and you’ll find one of the new game shows where the contestants routinely let greed get the best of them. The popularity of these shows and the piranha feeding tank behavior of bargain shoppers says something about our collective values and it’s not very flattering.

Celebrate the season, find a way to help your fellow man, and give from the heart.

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