Having enjoyed Halloween, and Election Day, and seeing Veterans Day on the horizon, I was thrown into a quandary regarding the recent debate on retail stores selling Christmas products so early. The tradition is, that as soon as Santa flies past Macy’s department store at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade – it is officially the holiday season.
This year Thanksgiving and the parade are on the 26th of November – that gives everyone almost a month to purchase holiday gifts. Ok, less time if you are celebrating Chanukah, but an extra day if you are celebrating the start of Kwanzaa. Truly that has to be enough time. It just doesn’t feel that way because we all get sucked in by the advertisers and social media telling us that the best buys are now, this weekend etc. We are worried that the best gifts will be gone, be more expensive or we will run out or time or money, so we feel compelled to buy now.
To me, it seems people are stressing out over having to get gifts for every family member, boss, co-worker etc. and the joy of the season is lost to the stress of the season. Personally, I like to hoard gifts throughout the year. If I see something in February that I think is perfect for someone I will get it and stick it in the closet. By the time December rolls around I usually have a quite large and unique stash of gifts. Some I end up playing with or chewing a little bit, but no one seems to mind as it tends to add character.
Overall, the best gift of the holiday in my opinion is time. It is time spent with friends or family. Because years from now, you probably won’t remember the bracelet that becomes a hairband, but you will remember laughing hysterically at a game of charades with your friends. Telling friends that you usually exchange gifts with, that you might want to skip the gifts this year, or do a secret santa instead, could be a welcome relief to all involved. Yes, it’s fun to open presents… but not if you are too tired to even be present!
To retailers, ‘do what you need to do’, but remember that the bottom line isn’t all the holidays are about. And to consumers – think about how you want to spend your holiday season. It’s fun to shop and a nice time to think of others, but don’t make it all about that. Stop now, while you still have about a month and a half , and decide what is important to you and what will make you happiest and then follow that road.