"I presume that each of us has the capacity to be a saint or a monster." -Noam Chomsky
Thursday, August 9
Back to School? Halloween? But Why Haven't You Done Your Christmas Shopping, Slacker?
A couple of years and a few (hundred?) pounds ago, I went on CBS This Morning to talk to the lovely Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell about how Christmas advertising and retail holiday displays seem to happen earlier and earlier each year (see video above) — and how much everybody, including Gayle and Norah, supposedly hates that, even though marketers clearly didn't get the memo. (My local Walmart already has pre-lit Christmas trees on sale — even though the whole Northeast is in the midst of another fires-of-hell heat wave this week.) You might think it's a purely American phenomenon, what with our hyperconsumerist culture, but you'd be wrong. As Reuters reports, Santa himself showed up last week to open the Christmas shop at Selfridges department store in London. The whole Christmas in the summer thing may be working, too, as retailers seem to be making headway persuading us to jingle our wallets earlier. According to the National Retail Federation, 10 percent of adults in the U.S. start shopping for the holidays during the month of August. That's not all. Some consumers are getting a jump on holiday decorating, too — which, besides infuriating your neighbors, apparently has the added benefit of a Xanax or a shot of Jack Daniels or whatever your fix for staying chipper happens to be. A recent study found that those of us who put up our trees, lights, menorahs and stockings earlier are happier people. As Steve McKeown, a psychoanalyst, puts it: "In a world of stress and anxiety, people like to associate to things that make them happy, and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of childhood ... so putting up Christmas decorations early extends the excitement." What was that somebody once said? Oh, yeah: Bah, humbug.