Christmas holidays shoved down our throats
It’s not even three weeks till Thanksgiving and stores are already pushing and promoting Christmas. Don’t you think it’s just too soon? Maybe we should enjoy the Fall and also Thanksgiving before we start focusing on the Christmas holidays.
By Ray Hanania
You don’t have to be Christian to enjoy the Christmas Holidays.
Clearly, the religious aspects of Christmas have been erased through years of commercialization, so it’s really not about Jesus, religion or favoring one faith any more.
But there is one thing that I think is upsetting.
When I was a kid, I thrilled for that moment when we would wake up and rush down the stairs to dig through neatly wrapped presents under the Christmas Tree.
Christmas was something we anticipated and the anticipation helped us enjoy it more.
These days, Christmas is little more than an instrument of sales, revenues and profits.
It’s only November 6, folks, and yet they are already shoving Christmas down our throats. What’s the rush? Can’t we enjoy Thanksgiving, which is a bigger secular holiday that everyone can enjoy, if you love this country, of course.
No. Some stores just can’t wait to turn the switch. We’re like Pavlov’s dogs. Hit the buzzer and we jump.
But at least the dog in the Pavlov experiments got a cookie. It’s just the opposite with today’s Christmas manipulation. They get the cookies, our hard-earned wages spent oftentimes on junk we don’t need.
The whole concept of Christmas has changed into a process. They turn the switch on and throw fancy colored lights, cute little Nutcrackers that can talk at you, decorate a sandwich in green sprinkles, or have some overweight dude with a fake white beard doing some “ho, ho, ho-ing!”
And we’re supposed to react by whipping out our wallets and dumping the cash into their coffers to buy junk just because we’re supposed to buy something. Gift giving isn’t as genuine as it used to be. It’s systematic.
You don’t have a choice. You have to buy a present. Giving is great, of course. I love to give to people in need. I have a few I help every year because I know that they have nothing all year round.
But by starting this whole thing so early we’ve taken out the essence of anticipation that makes “giving” so much fun.
Eight weeks is just too long to have to anticipate anything. Celebrating Christmas so soon disrespects Thanksgiving.
Christmas isn’t supposed to start until after Thanksgiving, not before. It’s all so unChristianlike. And, it’s disrespectful to people who are Jewish or Muslim who don’t celebrate Christmas but who tolerate it as a part of American cultural traditions.
If I walk into a store and a chubby dude greets me with a ho, ho, ho so soon, I might just go bonkers on you. Have him dress up like a Turkey. What’s wrong with a fat turkey? Although I always feel bad for turkeys right about now.
I want concentrated Christmas, not the diluted variety driven by greed. Concentrated Christmas of about 5 weeks is the perfect time period to enjoy decorations, sing a few Carols, watch a few Christmas movies like Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life,” or Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Also, Jean Shepherd’s “A Christmas Story” about Ralph and his BB Rifle. Who doesn’t cringe with a smile at the image of that woman’s thigh lamp?
I love it. But if I start watching all that now, this early, or start shopping for presents this soon before Thanksgiving, I’m going to lose that Christmas Spirt.
Hold off, people. What’s the rush? Enjoy life. And treat Christmas like the treasure that it is. Wait. Anticipate. And enjoy it so much more.
TALK ABOUT A SCROOGE:
I got this email from a reader regarding my column on my successful cancer surgery:
On Nov 2, 2017, at 6:24 PM, Rusty Gate <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: “It’s a real shame that the cancer didn’t kill you, you stupid fucking asshole. I hope you fucking die real soon.”
That’s why I love what I do, folks!
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter. Email him at email@example.com. Originally published Nov. 9, 2017 in The Regional News newspaper and the Southwest News Newspaper Group.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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