Feeling Scroogy

By | December 7, 2012
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I’m feeling Scroogy today.

I went to the local drug store yesterday morning to get something and Christmas music was playing. The store was decorated in its glittering Christmas best. This drug store was the last great holdout.

When I say drug store, I must qualify that. This store was nothing like the drug stores of my youth. Back then drugs stores sold only drugs, cosmetics, and sundries. “My” drug store today sells groceries, toys, medical supplies, holiday decorations and more – you can even buy a HP printer cartridge or a coffee pot there. Instead of a drug store it is more like a huge convenience store or a small grocery store where the drug store. pharmacy and all, just happens to be inside with everything else.

Anyway, this drug store has won quite a lot of my business in these past few weeks. If I could buy it there, I bought it there. I didn’t patronize Super Walmart or the other local groceries stores unless I absolutely had to. You see, the other stores in my little town play the “Let’s Start Christmas On Halloween” game. These other stores put up their Christmas decorations and started playing Christmas on the same day they took down the Halloween stuff. It all seems to smack of greed to me. What do I know, though? I’m just a grumpy, old man.

All this stuff makes me angry for a number of reasons:

The first being, so I’m told, is that I’m turning into a curmudgeon – and old Grinch. I become more cynical with the passing of each year. To the same degree as the years remaining in my life dwindle, my compulsion to grump and grouch and carryon about things that annoy me increases.

Let’s start off with this one: Sometimes I don’t like the way the world is today, but it’s not because I’ve not kept up with technology. Some of the twenty-somethings probably look at me and think, “What an old useless coot.” Wait a minute – I use computers, the Internet, cell phones, I’ve even got a Blue Tooth. (For those who haven’t kept up, Blue Tooth isn’t a disease. My teeth are not blue – not a single tooth.)

I don’t like the speed of everything these days. The world seems too speeded-up to me. Now that I’m older and the calendar of the future is shrinking exponentially, times goes too fast as it is. The last thing an old curmudgeon like me needs is the world going faster than the old internal clock. I always feel like I’m in race against time. Today is Wednesday. Sunday seems like it was only a couple of hours ago. It seems like last Christmas was only a couple of months ago.

When I was a kid, it seemed like the last week before Christmas took an entire year to go by. Waiting, waiting, waiting, and waiting. That’s all a kid does at Christmas is wait. I guess kids’ internal clocks are set on “Very Slow”. And no matter how much adults and technophiles try to speed it up, the internal clock inside kids refuses to go any faster. It must be something to do with Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Here I am on December 3rd and according to most stores in my little town we’ve been in the “Christmas Season” since Halloween. Tree weeks from today is Christmas Eve. If I were a kid I wouldn’t dare start my Christmas countdown yet – it would make the wait unbearable. Kids have more sense than that. Yet, I know, in a couple of hours it will be Christmas Day and then New Year’s Day, the combination of my own aged and speeded-up internal clock and the world’s need for instant gratification will combine to scoot me right into the first of next year in just a few hours – from my aged perspective .

And, before you know it, I will be hearing that same question I hear every year, “You gonna watch the Super Bowl?” I will be replying with the same answer as I do every year -“Nope. Not going to watch it just like I didn’t watch it last year.” And I’ll get angry when I see all those stupid “Super Bowl Party” displays in all the grocery stores. Maybe my drug store will remain above the frenzy and not have a Stupid Bowl display. If so, they can count on increased business from me. Again.

Am I wrong? Is America really that starved for parties that any excuse is good enough. Even a football game between two teams who probably have already played each other twice this season? Teams I’ve never watch and don’t care a thing about? Worse, do I really have to hear about all the celebrities who will be attending – and how wonderful they looked? Or how about those fools who pay $25,000 per ticket to get a seat at the Super Bowl? I wonder how many families they could have fed with that $25,000 – especially in this awful economic situation we’re in? It’s more fun to party than to feed the poor. Me and society just aren’t on the same page. Surely someone out there must think the same things as I do?

Then we have to face the green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Was St. Patrick the patron Saint of beer? What’s the deal with getting drunk on St. Patrick’s day. I digress, I’m sorry.

The second reason for my churlishness today, in regard to the extended Christmas season, are the TV commercials. I can’t imagine giving anyone a Lexus for Christmas, anyone giving me one, or anyone actually asking for one. Maybe I live on a different plane than others – giving someone a Lexus seems decadent to me. And asking for one seems even worse.

And while I’m on the subject of decadence, what about buying someone a $10,000 diamond ring? Does that mean he who buys his wife or girlfriend a$10,000 diamond ring from Jared’s loves his wife/girlfriend more than some poor, hard-working stiff who could barely scrape up $20.00 give his wife a Timex watch from Walmart? Do we have to watch these actors portraying fawning lovers squatting beneath impeccably decorated Christmas trees thrusting large chunks of diamonds on some model or another’s finger? I’d rather watch Joe The Plumber pour Drain-o down his girlfriend’s toilet. And, I’m not a big Joe The Plumber fan. But, that’s another story for another time.

I could go on and on, but you’re getting the idea. I’m not happy with Christmas season starting on Halloween. How many times can you hear “Silver Bells” before it’s not special anymore.

Starting Christmas the minute that Halloween ends only makes Christmas less magic. I feel sorry for the children today. I can remember when Christmas music was special. You only heard it maybe for ten days a year. Now it lingers from October 31 through midnight on December 25. Nearly two months of Christmas music means by the time Christmas Day arrives you’d almost rather listen to Fifty Cent. I said “almost”.

Stealing the magic from Christmas and trying to turn it into a nearly two-month long shopping spree in order to suck every spare nickel and dime from shoppers seems to be contrary to the real Spirit of Christmas. We are being programmed by advertisers, manufacturers, and merchants into believing the value of Christmas and the success of the Season itself can be measure in dollars – and it can’t.

Even though I’m being a Scrooge right now, I feel bad that so many are trying to take away the beauty, wonder and magic of Christmas by turning a special season into a commercial free-for-all.

I’m trying not to listen to any Christmas music or look at any Christmas lights or send any Christmas cards or say “Merry Christmas” until it is really the Christmas Season. I’m not sure when Christmas Season is supposed to begin, but this year for me I’m setting myself a reminder on December 15th. On that day, I will open my eyes and see the lights of Christmas, I will open my ears and hear the joyous sounds of Christmas, and I will open my heart and feel the love of Christmas. I will expect nothing and ask nothing of others – and I will gladly give what I can to those I love, not because I’m supposed to, but because I want to. I always get more joy from giving than receiving anyway. And isn’t that the way Christmas is really supposed to be?

“If only in my dreams….”

15 thoughts on “Feeling Scroogy

  1. MerryMarjie

    I agree with you 100%, Christmas is being pushed more and more, and the excuse I hear when I see stacks of Christmas paper next to the Halloween pumpkins is that “people like to get an early start.” What is means is that this magical holiday is being further commercialized every year, as is every other holiday on the calendar. I think the line Steve Martin spoke in one of his funny movies is appropriate: “Oh, it’s a PROFIT-making deal!”

    We are officially a consumer nation, being encouraged to acquire more and more each year, as if the person with the most toys wins. Our children emulate the rich and (in)famous by wearing certain brands that they can ill-afford, grown-ups buy bigger cars and houses in the pursuit of status, everybody thinks having “things” will mean eternal happiness. It doesn’t, but most of us haven’t discovered that yet.

    I hope someday we stop worshipping the dollar, stop trying to amass money and things, stop running as fast as we can to get through life. You and I have known all along that real life is wonderful, that getting off the treadmill and taking time to appreciate the moment is what makes happiness.

    Thanks for your thoughtful article, and I’m glad I took the time to read it.

    Reply
  2. paul

    christmas season starts for me after thanks giving. if you plan on shipping gifts and wait until the 15th you’re pushing it a little if you want them to arrive on time.

    Reply
  3. Margaret

    Well… I have to say that I was excited to see some Christmas decorations even before Halloween. Know why? I so dislike Halloween and am thrilled to have it gone. I love Christmas and all the lights and other decorations because they remind me of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate.

    TC, when I was as young as you are now, I think I was a bit ‘Scrooged’, too, but thankfully that has passed. You may disagree with that when I say we no longer buy/receive gifts but, in our loved ones names, give to those who have not. This works for us.

    Merry Christmas to everyone!

    Reply
  4. Lili

    BRAVO!!!!!! So very well said!!!! I agree with your feelings & comments 100% !!!!
    The merchants have taken the spirit of Christmas away; these days, it’s nothing but greed ~ greed ~ greed!!! When I hear Christmas carols at the beginning of November, it just angers me and takes away my looking forward to the holiday season. Enough already!!!!

    Reply
  5. Lenny

    Guess I am scrooged also I think Christmas is too commercialized and the stores start decorating way too early to suit my tastes.Like the OP I don’t even recognise anything that has to do with Christmas till about two weeks before hand, and as far as gifting I don’t have to worry about sending any in the mail all my family is close.So AMEN Scrooged I am with you all the way.

    Reply
  6. Anne

    I certainly agree with you. The thing that burns me too is their starting the Christmas music up so early and the minute Christmas arrives on the 25th there is no more. Also putting up their Christmas trees on Thanksgiving. We never put our tree up or decorated until Christmas Eve when I was a kid. And those people that put their trees up early like that have them on their front lawns on Christmas day. We always kept our tree up until the 5th ot 6th of January in honor of the Epiphany when the Wise Men arrived. I really don’t have much family left, so money that I may have used to buy gifts with I donate to our local Food Closet so people less fortunate will have a Merry Christmas.

    Reply
  7. Joyce

    I couldn’t agree with you more. When I was a child (back in the 40’s) Halloween was not as commercialized as it is today, it was a kids holiday and we dressed up in costimes and went trick or treating. Santa arrived on Thanksgiving in a parade and that’s when the season began. Now it is Xmas and not CHRISTmas. Christ has been crossed out of CHRISTmas. Jesus is still the reason for the season.

    Reply
  8. Donna Mae

    I started my rant and then I deleted it.It goes without saying that the old world is moving too fast for me. I keep my mind active by struggling on the computer. I thank you and EB for your kind and unselfish help.Thank you so much. Your ‘gift’ is appreciated everyday of the year.

    Christmas ?? well it is generally quite quiet– we welcome the family if they can get home but we understand if they can’t make it. They have their families and friends and they live far away.

    It seems to me that everything is going too fast– they talk too fast– they drive too fast–and everything has to be so loud–Bang Crash Boom with almost every bit of discussion no matter where you go: dining out, shopping, entertainment. The background music with all TV programs makes it very difficult to understand. Commentators usually all talk at once (and I do have hearing aids)- but one might as well turn the dial.

    Sorry I am off topic–I agree with you–It is all greed– money money money– beat the other merchant out of as many sales as possible: bunch the “Celebration Days” all together and drive us all crazy.

    Oh dear I am nattering on– Anyway YOU FOLKS have a WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS. BEST WISHES.
    This old couple will enjoy a peaceful and blessed celebration.

    Reply
  9. Judy

    The reason the stores are advertising Christmas earlier each year… people are not buying like they used to. Lots and lots are without jobs… and the stores have to start early hoping to give people a chance to make more money to buy stuff. It’s sad when others are out of work with no means of support… stores are closing for lack of sales.. so I can easily see why they start early…. Our mall out here closed two of their major stores for lack of sales… that once beautiful mall is more like an empty shell now which cost millions to build Im sure.

    Reply
  10. Jeannie

    You nailed on the head. Where I work, they started with Halloween decorations way before Labor Day, then before Halloween even came they put out there Christmas decorations, ornaments, lights, etc. By the time Christmas actually comes I will be so sick of Christmas music that the spirit of Christmas which is has been lost by now isn’t even on people’s minds. What ever happen to patients! When I was a kid, the stores didn’t uncover their display windows until after Thanksgiving. That made for something special. Now its all about greed. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Reply
  11. Debra Campbell

    I believe I can recommend something that will turn the Scroogy feeling around. It is a thing of true beauty, a rendition of “O Come Emmanuel.” With just one piano and one cello, it evokes the beauty and wonder of Christ’s birth and leaves behind the overloud tinny commercialism that betrays the season. Here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO7ySn-Swwc

    My knowledge of Biblical history is a bit sparse, so I don’t know if this is an apt reference or not, but to me this music speaks of solitude on a desert night, an amazing heavenly host and the birth we celebrate.

    Play it on December 15 when your season begins, or any time you need a moment of quiet and reflection. I am not in any way connected with or associated with the performers. I simply ran across this while surfing the Net and was awed by this incredible music. To be able to access something like this, like your website and stationery, for free with a click of a few keys…that is one of the amazing gifts of the age we are in.

    I’ve been a member of Cloudeight for many years. Your tech tips are always helpful and enlightening and I and my family and friends always enjoy the gift of your free stationery. I’ve recommended your stationery and now, your direct computer care, to many. I think of you as trusted friends. So… I hope you all take a deep breath and let this music give you the gift of the season.

    Thank you again (and I hope not to offend here) and, in the best possible way, Merry Christmas.

    Debra

    Reply
  12. Joan G

    Christmas is by far the most special of times. I don’t like calling it a holiday because nowadays it’s like taking the word in vain…I believe it was called a holiday because it was a Holy Day….the birthday of Jesus. The early, early promotions only serve to nullify the special inside feeling Christmas used to fill us with. The spreading feeling of warmth, cheerfulness….many people can find many more words to describe their feelings of Christmas, but it all comes down to a feeling of something extrememly warm and blessed permeating the atmosphere around us, whether out shopping, visiting, or just quietly sitting in your own cozy spot at home. Not every home has a fireplace, but, oh, boy, they sure figure into the feeling big time!! As for the AXE dropping at the calendar change from Dec. 25, to Dec,26,….no more Christmas music….back to the awful background noise we are used to….THAT, I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND! We’ve been tearing around getting ready to make our Christmas as special as we’re able. We’ve worn ourselves out, and here we are now able to quietly, or noisily if we desire celebrate with our family and friends; and a lot of us just love to do that for a week or more. My tree never came down until the second week of Janurary,……As Anne above said…….The Epiphany…..The arrival of the Wise Men who had been seeking the Christ Child to present Him with their gifts for His life. This too is a great part of the Christmas Event. The commercialism of Christmas….One of the greatest gifts God has ever given us….is horrendous! May God forgive us for our selfish dismissing and commercialization of His Most Precious Gift!

    Reply
  13. Nancy

    I was so thankful to read EB’s message, and all of the other messages that agreed with him. I am about to be a gr-grandmother for the second time, and no other gift being sold in a store could be as precious. I lost a dear brother in law only 19 yrs. old in Vietnam, so we will be sending gifts to the troops that are missing the joy of being with their loved ones at Chrismas.

    Reply

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