Friday, October 8, 2010

Christmas, or the Great Secular Shopping Day...

Is there anyone else who remembers the Sears' and Penney's Christmas catalogs arriving between Halloween and Thanksgiving?  That always signaled the start of the holiday season for me.  Nowadays, the kids start asking as soon as they see Christmas displays in stores.  (Oh, wait, many of the stores have chucked Christmas in favor of generic "holidays" - which is baloney, because we all know they aren't selling that junk for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever the closest Muslim holiday is).   ANYWAY, the Princess & the Pirate have started asking me 'how many more weeks 'til Christmas', and telling me everything they would like to add to their "list."

Aside: I have used the birthday and Christmas "lists" for years as a way to head off the whiny want-its in stores - or anywhere else .  If I'm not buying it at that moment I just tell the kids, "Add it to your list," and they know if they whine about it after that, they have ZERO chance of getting it, 'cause Santa doesn't like whiners, and neither does their Mama.   

This year's lists seem to be comprised of American Girl dolls...long lists of American Girl dolls in order of preference/acquisition.  The Princess wants Molly first, then Felicity.  The Pirate wants Felicity, then Kaya (because they both have horses; the Pirate could not care less what the dolls look like).  The problem is that Felicity is being "retired" at the end of this year.  So, we must get Felicity this year, or not at all.  Has anyone else choked at the price for these toys?  $95 per doll + shipping (which is still cheaper than my driving to Chicago - home of the nearest American Girl store).  And that's just the doll & paperback book, no accessories.  Add $20 for "accessories."  I'm thinking the doll is ALL, and I'll be sewing some 18" doll clothes between now and then, with scraps from my stash.  And if any of their relatives ask what the girls would like for Christmas, we'll tell them AG accessories and 18" doll clothes.  (At least that's clear and fairly easy to find.  Getting clothes the right size in styles the girls like is always problematic when they are bought by people who don't see them that often).   The only redeeming factor in all of this consumerism is the historical education some marketing wizard added to the whole doll concept when designing the American Girl dolls.  I can design (or otherwise obtain) an entire unit study on the American Revolution based on Felicity, and one for WW2 written around Molly's experiences growing up in the 1940's.

Now I'm wondering if they have a Victorian era doll I can turn into Little Miss Steampunk.  And maybe I should just stop there... all I want for Christmas is a good pressure canner, in case anyone is wondering.   

In reality, I'd prefer the whole concept of exchanging gifts at Christmas to just go away.  It takes away from the actual holy-day.  It was never about what we gave/give/will give to each other, much less what we got/get/will get.  It's about what God gave for us.  I wish we could have a secular gift-giving "holiday" at some other time of year.  Then the hypocrisy of atheists exchanging Christmas gifts wouldn't exist.  (I don't know why I care, but that does bug me).  And we wouldn't have marketing nuts trying to warp other religions' holidays to fit the current consumptive* Christmas mold.  I'd resent that, if I followed one of those religious traditions.  And we wouldn't have people all a-twitter that some store told its employees they could not wish anyone a Merry Christmas, but had to tell all shoppers "Happy Holidays!" instead.  They could say "Merry Christmas!" on Dec 24/5, and "Happy shopping!" or some other inanity on the Great Secular Shopping Day.  Yes, I'm thinking I have a great idea here.  We could remove all the consumerism from the Christian holy day, and instead have a ginormous secular consumerist frenzy during a different week.   We could ALL wish each other "Happy Shopping!" or "Good Giving!" or "Rake it in!" whenever it is.  I'm thinking April 16.  Or maybe two weeks later - so the government has time to print the money it has to give back in tax refunds. 

*Yes, I know, but the computer failed "consumeristic" and I liked the diseased flavor of consumptive.


  1. I love it! As soon as I was old enough to be taken seriously as an "adult" in my family (which wasn't until sometime in college), I loudly announced that I refuse to buy Christmas presents and don't expect them in return. I still don't really "do" Christmas, and all my family knows that and respects my wishes. (Although I have been informed that my attitude MUST change when I nieces and nephews. HA!) This is also why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. All the same benefits of Christmas, none of the drawbacks. And lastly, while I am not opposed to present giving, I would rather just give a gift to someone because I am thinking of them and saw something that reminded me of them, rather than being "forced" to go searching for something that they might or might not like or want just because December 25th is coming. So, know that if I ever give you a gift, it's because I really want to.

  2. It'd probably just be easier if you move Christmas.

  3. I'm good with that - Christ wasn't born on December 25 anyway.

    And JLV, I like Thanksgiving better, too. Much less stressful and I'm not sick of thepuerile "holiday" carols by that point!