Every year it seems as if “Christmas” gets earlier and earlier. I put Christmas in quotes because Christmas doesn’t move, but “Christmas” does: commercials on televisions, displays in stores and even lights on people’s homes.
The stores with their ads and displays, I can understand if not actually agree with. Many retail stores make their entire year in the month or so leading up to Christmas. They’re trying to get a jump on their competition. The only problem is their competition is trying to get a jump on them. And it gets fairly ridiculous. Kids are tripping over Christmas trees trying to pick out their Halloween costumes.
This line of thinking got me wondering why people were lighting their Christmas decorations so early, though. There isn’t any possible benefit from it. You don’t make more money if you turn those outside lights on early. In fact, you end up spending more.
According to the website Christmas Lights ETC, the average cost of a LIGHT Christmas display is $10.75 for the season. (I assume they define the season as being about a month long, but I couldn’t confirm that.) The typical HEAVY usage costs about $115.26 and the typical ENTHUSIASTIC display costs $310.73. (For the record, the website says that if those same three displays were prepared with LED lights, the costs would be $1.63, $15.32 and $40.15, respectively. Seems like everyone who wants to go out and light up their yards early should at least invest in LED lights.)
Our country is going through a difficult time right now. People are more polarized and angrier than at any time in my memory. It seems as if every argument begins with “You’re stupid if you don’t agree with me.” And goes downhill from there. Of course, there are very few discussions. Everything is an argument. I find it at least a little ironic that we just passed the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. I don’t think things are as contentious now as they were at that time, but it seems like it is getting close.
So maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s why people are lighting Christmas lights early and playing the occasional Christmas song. As we approach Thanksgiving, they’re looking for something to be thankful for and Christmas represents it. Christmas is an opportunity to be happy and to love friends and neighbors, simply for being friends and neighbors regardless of how they feel about the hot-button issue of the moment.
For years I have heard people say that Thanksgiving gets overlooked because we can’t find a way to commercialize it. To me that’s a good thing. Thanksgiving is still probably one of the purest of the holidays. It is closest to its original intent.
With everything else going on right now, let’s just take a moment to be thankful. Okay?