Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Devolution of the Holidays

Yeah, yeah I know I haven't blogged in awhile but things have been super crazy lately! Work has been insane, the museum is getting ready to display a new exhibit and I'm in the process of moving into a new apartment. So yeah when it comes to having free time there isn't much to be had. When there is some to be had though I tend to want to veg out in front of the TV or go to the gym. Anyways that's not the topic of this blog post.

I'm sitting here at my boyfriend's as he's sick in bed and it's given me the free time to actually think and to write this blog post. See I started thinking about the Holidays. First off I was thinking how I haven't gotten any presents for hardly anyone yet and how much that is stressing me out. Then I started to think of how things were when I was little versus now.

When I was younger I remember having this amazing Thanksgiving dinner sitting around the table with family as we talked about how thankful we were for everything. Now it has devolved to us sitting around watching football and eating the meal before rushing off to all the other places that we will be going to. And this isn't just my family. There are a good majority of families who do this as well.

Then there is the issue of the stores. It used to be that hardly any stores were open on this day and now more and more are opened for at least a little bit. This then causes many of the employees there to have to work when they would be with their families instead. This year the big thing was the stores being closed during the day on Thanksgiving but then opening up at Midnight for the Black Friday sales. This then meant that people were rushing around from their family events to get there early (cause for Black Friday of course there was major set up involved) so that they could work insane hours to satisfy the consumers.

Christmas and the other Holidays have become the same way. Many of the big stores are open on or around Christmas. True they get their employees who don't celebrate the particular holiday at the time to work, but still people who do celebrate end up working as well. I remember on Christmas the only thing that was open was a small Deli near my house that was run by a Jewish family. I remember going there to get sandwiches (and my parents alcohol to take to the different parties we were going to) and that was the only place open around for miles.

Also what goes along with that is this constant need to keep pushing the holiday sales longer and longer. We saw it with Black Friday and the stores opening up earlier than usual but even before that we saw tons of Christmas decorations in the stores. Some stores started selling Christmas items right after Halloween. (and I won't even get started to how they seem to only cater to the Christmas season, that is a whole other issue in itself).

Then there's the decorating for Christmas itself. I remember my mom putting on our Bing Crosby Christmas album as we decorated with tinsel and small figurines around the house. We used to drive around looking for the perfect Christmas tree to fit in our house (my dad and brother always wanted the huge ones). Now we're lucky if we put a couple decorations up and we now have a fake tree. And once again this isn't just my family that does this.

What it boils down to is the big corporations wanting to capitalize on the Holidays and then Americans have circum to it. Also it seems that this devolution is a lot on the fault of the laziness of Americans. We want everything to be easy and convenient. Well sometimes they just can't be like that. I hope when I have a family that I never circum to "what is the easiest" solution when it comes to the Holidays or perhaps things in general.


None said...

The commodification of the holidays. I find it intriguing how capitalism have created a sort of "Holiday of Revenue", and has framed the current meaning of "holidays". Granted, this is a complete generalization, but overall the commodification of anything and everything (even people i.e. Manpower Corp.) has influenced how people view the Holidays. For example, the stress of "purchasing" gifts - was this always a part of the "Holidays"?

I think archaeologists will have fun in a few thousand, nay, million years from now trying to decipher the idea of commodification through material remains of our current history. I predict that capitalism (economy) will be the primary carver of culture for those who live in America and other capitalistic countries.

Economy will become culture.

Bold statement, isn't it? Eh, screw it.

Grant Dambach said...

wow, how long was I asleep when you wrote this? Also, that's a lot of talk for someone who went Black Friday shopping at midnight (admit it, you had fun that night).

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