Opinion Column

Ho-ho-hold up on Christmas marketing

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

This was the scene last Friday as I walked through Michaels in Red Deer, rounding a corner to be greeted a whole aisle of Christmas items, from ribbons to centrepieces and other decorations. I started to wonder if I’d somehow skipped ahead six months, and the cold air in the building was caused by snow outdoors, or if Buddy the Elf was lurking around somewhere.

I know the “Christmas in July” celebration takes place in some parts of the world, but that’s one oddity I’d rather avoid.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. It’s hands down my favourite time of the year, but putting items out six months in advance - and not even clearance items - is more than just a little ridiculous.

Isn’t Christmas supposed to be special? Shouldn’t it have a certain magic to it? Isn’t part of that created by the fact it only happens once a year?

Maybe that’s why it’s seemingly becoming harder and harder for people to get in the Christmas spirit - they never really have a chance to get out of, and the magic and wonder of the season become old and lost in the rushing of the season.

It’s not just Christmas, either.

Stores started pushing “Back to School” sales before the majority of students were even out of school for the summer.

During the first week of summer holidays, I was in Staples and saw a mother forcing her children to spend their first days of freedom picking out school supplies. You could see how antsy they were, how disinterested in new pencils and binders they were when all they wanted to be doing was playing outside.

My mom has always said it’s cruel to rush kids back into school in the summer, given how little time they actually have, and how intensive the curriculum can get and I tend to agree.

Even for those who don’t hate school, it’s good to have some reprieve from classroom learning, and to indulge in the outdoors and different kinds of learning that aren’t school-based.

Then there was the fall decor, and shortly after, Halloween when seasonal items still should’ve been Canada 150.

We’re not just jumping the gun on the seasons and giving people time to prepare, anymore. We’re literally seeing holidays collapse and meld into each other.

It seems to get worse and worse every year.

Back when I was delivering papers in middle school, I remember being horrified at having to deliver the much-anticipated Sears Wishbook the first week of September. The following year, it came in late August. By the time Christmas actually came around, I couldn’t even remember if it had come out that year.

Look at what Cadbury did with Mini Eggs. They used to only be available at Easter, and now they’re available all the time. They’re no longer a special Easter treat, they’re just another chocolate bar type snack.

At this rate, there will be no such thing as “seasonal” items. Everything will be available year-round, just like Mini Eggs.

Is that what we really want?

Do we want to shop for summer clothes in the dead of winter just to make sure we have some when the weather starts to get nice? Or would we rather wait for warm weather to know what we really need?

Do we want to lose the magic of the seasons, and the purpose of why they exist because commercialism dictates we must rush each season? That kind of thinking tires us out for the holidays before they even come around, and they then become unenjoyable, and who wants that? I, for one, don’t.

Let’s take things one holiday at a time, savour and enjoy them instead of rushing on to the next holiday.

Let’s ho-ho-hold up with the Christmas marketing schemes.

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Have questions, comments, concerns?

Email abarrett@postmedia.com 



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