Sunday, November 16, 2008

I just drove home and saw three houses on my street already have their Christmas decorations up. And it wasn't just a couple of lights either, they had it all decked out, with nodding reindeer, and "nets of lights" that cover entire bushes, and even blow up santas.

People, it is November Freaking 16th! I know that KEZ started playing Christmas music already, but that does not mean you have to give in to the temptation. I don't get it. There are only three reasons I can come up with why someone would be that insane about Christmas lights:

1- You want to get a jump on it.
Really? Is it that important to have all your lights up by Thanksgiving, that it justifies getting started 2 weeks early? If that really is the case, why don't you just decorate your house with Pink hearts, because heck, Valentines is just around the corner.

2- You want to outdo your neighbors.
Loser. If you want to outdo me, show up with a nice new car, or a new quad or go run a marathon. But putting up your Christmas lights early just makes you look desparate. Congratulations, you beat me. Now go feed your cat...

3 - You are doing your part to repair the economy. Having your lights up in the yard, you are trying to convince your neighbors to go spend their money. I hate to break it to you buddy, the Democrats won, and they promised we wouldn't have to do anything, and the money would just show up in our mailboxes (unless we make more than $250,000/yr).

Look, consumer spending is down by over 20% year over year, and you can bet that the retail stores are scared to death. They've made it to the lean times all year, rocking themselves to sleep with the false lullaby of "Christmas will fix this." But then, as the time got closer, they started to panic even more, because there was no sign that things were going to turn around. So they came up with this brilliant idea. Let's start earlier! So they put Christmas trees in Costco in October. They put Santa in Walmart at the end of August. they started talking about Lay-away plans, where you buy it in August, and you make little payments every week, and get it on Christmas. And they hope that you will see the Christmas decorations, and say to yourself, "by golly, it's time to start spending money again."

Except there is one problem. Millions of people are either unemployed or underemployed, and they are making less than they made last year. And no amount of blow up santa dolls on motorcycles is going to change that.

When gas approached $5 a gallon earlier this year, some people thought it was actually a good thing, because it would cause people to make permanent changes to their gas guzzling habits. And apparently it worked. One of the main reasons gas is down to $2.25 a gallon is that demand is down. We have adjusted. We have changed our behavior.

Well maybe this down economy is actually a good thing. Maybe it force us to change our habits. Maybe it will force us to put Christ back into Xmas, and force us to be grateful for what we have, no matter how small. Maybe it will, in some small degree, push the commercialism of Christmas back to an acceptable level. And maybe it will force the Tool on my street to wait until Thanksgiving to put his lights up next year.