Last Edited on 08/1/17 01:12

Ho Ho & Freak'n Ho

The Christmas Shopping Season

graphicAs a child, I enjoyed the Christmas season. We got to spend time with family and friends; spending Christmas Day with my paternal grandparents was always a treat. Plus, my mother was from Canada and so I got to spend New Years Day as repeat of Christmas, but with my maternal grandparents. My mother had nine siblings that survived childhood; so I got to spend time and play with lots of cousins.

The Christmas shopping season in the 1950s and 1960sdid not start until after Thanksgiving Day. I remember going with my mother while she went downtown to shop and she did not seemed anywhere near the stress I get going Christmas shopping today. Certainly, I do not recall, shoppers beating or trampling each other in order to get that special something on Black Friday. The hostility of people during a season dedicated to love and peace, amazes me!

Thanksgiving Day Does Not Exist graphic

While growing, Thanksgiving Day was considered sacred. Stores were closed. It was a day to spend with family, to be thankful. It was not a day to go on needless errands. The start of the Holiday Shopping season did not start until Santa got off his sled on the Macy parade.

Now stores are decorated for Christmas before children go back to school in September. The store where I worked was open on Thanksgiving. The company CEO was enjoying Thanksgiving diner with his family, while clerks at store level, many making minimum wage, worked. Why? So, big retail outlets want to get every last $ from foolish customers shopping for junk for Christmas! The store even ran special sales in the newspaper, "Open Thanksgiving!"

Black Friday register graphic

The real insanity is Black Friday or the day after Thanksgiving. Most retail outlets open early with most stores open at midnight. Buy your junk cheap! Walmart features the new tradition of trampling people to get at the limited supply of specially low priced items [televisions, computers, toys, etc.]

Cabbage Patch

doll graphicBack in mid 1980s the big holiday craze, were Cabbage Patch Dolls. The dolls were scarce and demand hyped. Fights broke out as customers grabbed the last doll on shelves. One evening, a friend met me at restaurant in Troy for pizza and beer. In the middle of the establishment were half a dozen gray haired women. They must have been at that table a while, as they were singing Christmas Carols. They were in a very joyful mood. Until. that is, a woman pulled out from under the table a Cabbage Patch doll. She let everyone know, "“Look what I got for my grand-daughter!"” The mood suddenly changed when the other women glared at the one holding the doll. My friend and I wondered if a fight would break out!

I always considered the Cabbage Patch dolls to be ugly. The heads were made of hard plastic. Certainly, a young child could not cuddle with one.

Singing Deer Head deer graphic

Amazing what crap people will buy for Christmas presents. One year my store sold a mounted, singing, deer head. The product was placed on a end aisle display in the Sporting Good section. It attracted kids of all ages with a setting for motion detection and sound volume. The deer head sold for over $100 and people bought them!

Why would anyone spend that kind of money for a product that would bwe unwelcome. Even I know not to purchase that shit for a present at any price, let alone a hundred bucks! If I got that for a present, it would be mounted, antlers first, in the butt of the presenter.

One evening, I found an elderly woman walking in front of the deer head display. She was holding on a shopping cart to maintain her balance. As she walked in front of the deer it shouted, "HEY LADY, COME FEEL MY SOFT FUR!" The woman jumped so high, she would have to be scraped off the ceiling. I had to make sure CPR was not needed before walking to my destination. What a practical gift!

That Special Gift graphio

What possessed me?

When my oldest son was in Junior High, he wanted to get a special gift for his mother. “It's at the mall! ” I meet Justin at school at 2:30 PM. Surely, I can beat the afternoon weekend rush at the shopping mall on a December Friday afternoon! Right?

Wrong! A trip by car that normally takes about 20 minutes. That day traffic congestion caused almost two hours delay. Two motor vehicle accidents in front of shopping centers was impediment to traffic flow.

We finally got to the shopping mall. Had to park some distance away from the mall. It was a cold December evening outdoors. Yet, as we opened the door to the mall, we could feel the sauna like heat. All the murmuring of shoppers talking together created a roar! Of course, the store that my son needed was across the other end of a long and congested corridor.

We finally get to the boutique. My son picks up the item. I forgotten what the special present was, except that it was under $10. We got in a long queue. Some woman cut in front of a gentleman in front of us; “I was here first!”, she shrilled. I restisted the temptation to yell out, “And a Merry Christmas to you, too”

It was wonderful to breath the fresh outdoor air as we exited the mall. On the way back, another car accident held us back. Like other like-minded people, stopped at a resturant for soup and sandwich. The wait there was so long, I muttered to my son: “Next year, Amazon! ”

I cring when November comes around,now. The Christmas music in stores start after Halloween in most stores. The songs usually are "Jingle Bells," "Jingle Bell Rock," "White Christmas," and a couple others. I don't understand why we do this to ourselves? From November 1st onward, I look forward to December 25 when it's all over!