While perusing the Halifax Chronicle Herald yesterday I couldn’t help but notice all the enticements to spend, spend, spend….before it’s too late. Too late for what, I wondered. Is the world coming to an end on December 25th? There were Christmas blowout sales. Is that something like a tire blowout? There were ads telling me to “Shop NOW and save”, others telling me they had great last minute gifts; and yet others telling me to give the gifts they’re really craving. Who? And now they have a “Beat the Boxing week rush” sale. Hmm…it used to be just Boxing day, now it’s boxing week; time to spend on all the things you didn’t get for Christmas. I remember growing up in Newfoundland when Boxing Day meant that my family would get together with another family and we’d share turkey leftovers done up as ‘chicken patties’. It was a time for visiting and relaxing, not rushing out to get even bigger bargains than before Christmas.
I still like to get all my Christmas shopping done early so that in the last few day’s mad rush when everyone else is out in the malls frantically searching for the aforesaid ‘last minute gift’, I can sit on a bench in the mall and do some serious people watching. If the scene wasn’t so pathetic, it would be funny. You see people on a mission to get gifts for everyone on their lists, without giving much thought to what they would buy. The look of focused desperation on their faces is priceless. Clutching bags full of what they’ve already bought, they go up and down the aisles hoping to be enlightened and find that last thing for ‘that special someone’. Everyone has the same 365 days in a year. Why is it that some people, like my sister, can get all her gifts bought or made by the end of the summer, when others are out at 3PM on December 24th?
The malls are nothing compared to the grocery stores. In the last few days before Christmas I have seen people buy more food than any family could eat in a month, let alone just one Christmas dinner. They buy so much, they say, just in case people drop in ( they seldom do). You’d think the stores were going to close for the whole twelve days of Christmas, not just one day. People fill their carts with the things of the season: nuts, cheeses, drinks, crackers, ice cream, cakes, chocolates, and all those things which find themselves padding our waistlines sometime in early January.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas; I love the reason we celebrate it, and it truly is the season of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. I just wish it would be more like it was in days gone by, when people took the time to write Christmas cards, and spend time with family and friends, and when instead of wishing everyone ‘Happy Holidays’ they said “Merry Christmas”. Isn’t that the reason for the season… CHRISTmas?