Christmas: The Bastard Child of Retail

Today I’d like to step back a bit and present a piece I wrote last year for Gnarrative. Sadly, the creator–and many of the contributors like myself–found real life and goals kicking our ass. We couldn’t keep up with the demand of not only maintaining our private blog but churning out posts for Gnarrative. I really enjoyed the time writing there.

In any account, for those who have read the ‘About Me’ on this blog, I work in the “exciting” world of retail sales. While my customer base isn’t as cromag as, say, your typical Walmart shopper we do get our moments that make us wonder about the state of humanity.

Thus, I wrote this piece. Enjoy!

Christmas: the most wonderful time of the year. Delighting in finding that one special gift for loved ones, friends, and the curmudgeon neighbor who snowblows all the white powder glory onto your property every winter. Perhaps this will be the year he clears over covers. After all, it’s in the spirit of Christmas to give, right? Wrong.

In the greed legacy of the Christmas season, we instill in our youth at an early age it doesn’t matter how many times they shave the cat, throw scissors like ninja stars at their siblings, or grin when handing over a report card full of more F’s than their father’s vocabulary. Underneath the tree they will find almost everything their heart’s desire in material possessions. The adults joyfully embrace alcoholism as their drug of choice of the festive season. Snipping the fuse of tolerance down to a nub, they throw gasoline on it, and blow torch the hell out of it. In the never-ending quest to bend to their children’s whims, parents cackle like diseased maniacs in seeing the misery of others, snatching the last Lego Star Wars Wompa Set away from another desperate parent. Our gleeful inner demon breaks out the marshmallows and chocolate at the chaos created. Score one for Little Timmy’s pile of gifts.

We dig deep into the Neanderthal-like phase of man’s existence. Survival of the fittest kicks into high gear as we scramble for the last pack of Silly Bandz. Disregard for human life–especially that of the retail worker–becomes an accepted fact.

How did we become a culture hell bent on the ‘gift of giving’? Actual origins of Christmas are much more depraved. While some parallels could be drawn—the running through the streets liken to the lunatics descending on the malls after Thanksgiving. The over-indulgence of alcoholic beverages—it’s the holidays: drink up! Caroling through the streets naked—ho ho ho to the strip club we go. Okay, that’s stretching it a bit.

Its early beginning started with the Romans with Kalenda. They exchanged gifts and commemorated the harvest. In modern times, it has become something more of an expectance. We expect to get something. For some it’s the price tag of an object that defines its worth. Others perceive the more presents they get, the better the outcome. Rare are the ones who see the gem in the dirt-encrusted rock. The gift made with care by the giver. Society has forgotten the value of such things in no small part because of commercialism.

One only needs to wait outside an Apple Store right before the launch of another mediocre product to see how people’s sensibilities become muddled and the slack-jawed babblings of ‘oh shiny’ resound as their eyes glaze over. The corporate organism latches on. You want this and you need the latest offering to lay on the cool green grass of the coveted other side.

How did we come from a pagan holiday of decadent debauchery to the Christians coveting the holiday as the birth of Jesus Christ to Oh Come All Ye Faithful Shoppers? Will the pressures of mounting personal debt cease to exist? Doubtful, unless we stop buying in to what has become the accepted norm. For now, retail claims the throne of Christmas holding high the scepter of domination.

((pssst… I’m in the photo above.))