Friday, November 11, 2005

A Modest Proposal

‘Tis the season to be jolly, it seems, earlier and earlier with each passing year of my young adulthood. This year, I found myself helping a friend who works for a major retailer take down their entire fall line and put out the Christmas display and all the Christmas decorations, including the tree -- on October 16th. Through some cosmically sick twist of fate, the life-sized light-up talking Freddy Krueger doll was still leering at passers-by outside of Spencer’s while we were decking the halls with boughs of holly.

When I was a little younger, you could always count on trolling the ancient Yuletide carol on certain radio stations round the clock, come about Thanksgiving. Despite the fact that as a Catholic, I suppose the singing of Christmas carols during Advent should liturgically irritate me, I could deal with this minor breach of etiquette. However, this season, I made my way through a department store the day after Halloween only to hear a rousing chorus of “Santa Baby” arrest mine poor ears.

To me, it begs the question – do the money-grubbing powers-that-be of American capitalism really think the American consumer is naive and stupid enough to be tricked into believing Christmas is coming sooner than usual this year and shelling out more money faster simply because they see a Christmas tree on October 16th? Do they really think that the average shopper’s first thought upon hearing “Santa Baby” on the loudspeakers on November 1st is – “Gosh, I really ought to get to Christmas shopping right this second!” rather than “Alright, what consummate social reject screwed up and started playing the Christmas music the day after Halloween?”

This situation presents a real catch-22 to the public. How can one avoid jarring the public so traumatically, while still keeping Christmas shopping at the forefront of the consumer’s mind all year long so as to nicely line greedy capitalist pockets?

As a solution, it has been proposed that we in America embrace a radical new system of keeping Christmas in our hearts all year long. Not only will this save effort for those of us who already don’t take our Christmas lights down till May, but will also result in a drastic increase in revenue for American retailers. Rather than Santa Claus emerging to hear Christmas lists from the kiddies only in the dark winter months, Santa will become a staple part of the shopping experience, easily accessible by the Information Desk where small fry can accost him all year long with incessant demands for ponies and Ipods and Soul Calibur3. Different Santas for different seasons are currently in the works – Swim Team Santa in a Speedo for July, Caribbean Cruise Santa in the spring, Ozzie Osbourne Santa for Halloween. Additionally, Santa will soon be trading in his all-too-seasonal reindeer for flamingoes in the summer, trained raccoons in the fall, and a team of Canada geese in the spring.

Christmas music, of course, will be played 24/7 on every radio station nationwide in order to foster the right holiday attitude and consequent dizzying stress necessary to incite Christmas shopping.

The other holidays, of course, will take a back seat to preparation for Christmas. No more Valentines, Easter egg dying kits, Halloween candy, or Thanksgiving turkeys will be available in mainstream stores and will heretofore have to be special-ordered off the internet, for it is assured that keeping them in stock will only distract the consumer from Christmas shopping and thus must be avoided at all costs.

In fact, new federal legislation will be passed regulating the use of Christmas decorations. Steep penalties will be enacted against those who fail to have their Christmas tree and lights up and passing inspection by July at the latest.

In this way, by enforcing the new Christmas All Year Long policy, we can avoid all customer shock and discomfort while still keeping the monopolist retailers living large and eating off the fat of the land.

As usual, one brave voice has stepped up to the plate as the first to embrace these new reforms. “We’re all on board for the Christmas All Year Long policy,” Mr. Eb Scrooge, C.E.O. of the Wal-Mart Corporation, has publicly stated. “By the time Christmas comes, you can bet that one store at least will already be having its after-Christmas sales, at prices lower than any competitor’s!”

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. God bless us, everyone.

"The great majority of people will go on observing forms that cannot be explained; they will keep Christmas Day with Christmas gifts and Christmas benedictions; they will continue to do it; and some day suddenly wake up and discover why." (Chesterton, "On Christmas")