Stores around here started stocking Christmas decorations before Halloween. Radio stations started playing non-stop Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Families spent November mapping out their Thanksgiving evening… which is now filled with shopping rather than quality family time.
When did the business of Christmas become such a joke?
Ben Folds has a track on his "Songs for Silverman" CD called "Jesusland". Take a look at the lyrics: (Or listen to the song on his website: http://www.BenFolds.com)
Take a walk
out the gate you go and never stop
past all the stores and wig shops
quarter in a cup for every block
and watch the buildings grow
smaller as you go
Down the tracks
beautiful McMansions on a hill
that overlook a highway
with riverboat casinos and you still
have yet to see a soul
Town to town
broadcast to each house, they drop your name
but no one knows your face
Billboards quoting things you'd never say
you hang your head and pray
Miles and miles
and the sun goin' down
from their homes
You're not alone
Lights come on
as you lay your weary head on their lawn
cracked and growing grass you see it all
from offices to farms
crosses flying high above the malls
A longer walk
The song is insightful… especially around the Christmas season.
Commercialism has taken over. Christmas is now about getting that plasma TV or the new laptop or the hot kid's toy.
It's no longer about magic and doing good for your fellow man.
What is most disappointing is – it's not going to change. Why should it? Americans spend so much time turning to their televisions to find out what it is they're supposed to be thinking and feeling, that they don't even know how to come up with a cogent thought on their own anymore. Advertisers are happy to do all of the thinking us. They've thought it out and this year, our Christmas just won't be complete without at least $2,000 worth of gifts under the tree.
And of course, we get caught up in the frenzy. We're decorating. We're buying. We're eating. We're cooking. We're celebrating. We laugh about the weight we gain around the holidays. And then it all happens in one big sick morning. We open presents. Did we get everything we wanted? Yes. Now it's time for Christmas dinner. Wow, seems like we just did this… oh yes, we did this at Thanksgiving four weeks ago. Remember Thanksgiving night? We spent 4 hours in line at Best Buy hoping to get that plasma TV that Joe is now plugging in. And then it's over. It's time to clean up. It's time to end the gluttony and start making New Year's Resolutions we'll never keep. And start planning for next year.
Show me the family that spends any time thinking of the less fortunate this Christmas. Show me the family that works at a soup kitchen instead of having a big gluttonous Christmas dinner. And I'll show you the families that go to bed on Christmas night knowing what the holiday is really about.