Is it my imagination or has Christmas evolved from a family centered celebration into a 60-day frantic marathon? As a retired retail veteran I have seen the insanity up close and personal, and believe me it's not pretty. In the past few years it seems that our society has shifted from celebrating the blessed season, to a fever frenzied mob of ravenous consumers grappling for the hottest, fastest, newest gadgets.
If you're like me you've noticed the first of the holiday decorations reached the shelves of numerous retailers this year much earlier than ever recalled previously. Move over scarecrow, here comes Santa Claus.
The rush to pack the shelves with garland and trimmings while firework smoke still hangs in the air takes from the thrill and excitement Christmas use to bring. This fast pace, high tech world in which we live pushes us to shop big discount stores, disregarding small business. We can even shop from the comfort and joy of an armchair or snuggled in our beds.
What happened to the days when we would meet with family or friends, have brunch at the local teahouse and drop by the beautifully stocked gift shops to find the perfect present?
Braving the exasperating traffic on Highway 41 seems unnecessary when you see the plethora of fanciful options within a stones throw from home.
One of my fondest Christmas memories was the hay ride through town caroling to the townspeople, cup of steamy hot cocoa in hand. Strolling through the shops all decked out with twinkling lights and fresh garland.
Picking out moms present when she was just around the corner, the sales people quickly wrapping it before she could see it. Though Top's Drugs is but a memory there are still many wonderful places to shop in town for all our gift needs.
It seems now as if one needs rib protection and earplugs to brave the malls during the holidays. Like cattle squeezed into a chute walking to their slaughter we move through the crowded spaces, often unaware of where we are even headed.
No one seems to care if "he" knows they've been naughty or nice, as long as they get that new game their kids have been pushing for. What happened to the good ole days when things were simple and gifts came from the heart? Can we ever get back there again? Will we ever again celebrate the true reason for the season without worrying if we are being politically correct? Or has the big business retail Grinch stole Christmas forever?
I say we take a stand and hold fast to the once cherished traditions of yesteryear. Hang a bundle of mistletoe above your entrance, bake something sweet for your neighbor and shop for your tree here in town. Let's frequent those quaint shops that still offer complimentary cups of hot cocoa and bite size goodies to their customers.
In the midst of an insane world of plastic money and greed, let's try to grasp even a little good tidings and cheer this Christmas season. Take time to reflect and be thankful for our great country and all that sacrifice for us to have this sweet freedom.
And last, but not least, don't forget to leave the milk and cookies out, even if it is lactose free.