No, that’s not a typo. Ads for Christmas started before Halloween this year. In the frenzy for sales numbers, Thanksgiving was barely an afterthought as stores insisted on opening by Thanksgiving afternoon. Last week, I guess retailers felt they had saturated the print and visual media long enough regarding Christmas, so I actually saw ads for Valentine’s Day! Yesterday, the day before Christmas, they started inundating us with the post-Christmas sales. I guess the message is now that you’ve spent months shopping for those perfect gifts for everyone you know, forget the actual holiday and let’s get on with the shopping.
There are end-of-summer sales 4th of July weekend. On the one hand, I’m not complaining about that – this means I can still get clothes I might actually want to wear during the summer before summer is even halfway over, at drastically reduced prices. On the other hand, this push to keep us buying further and further into the future is, in my humble opinion, the reason so many of us feel that our lives are just racing by.
When you can’t just be in the moment, when you’re constantly urged to start planning for events that are still months away, there is no longer a present (pun intended). Life just gets pushed further and further along at breakneck speed. To where?
When I was a kid (yes, once again, back in prehistoric times), time seemed to move at the pace of grass growing. I don’t remember ever thinking that something enjoyable had raced by in the blink of an eye. But when I talk to children these days, I often hear them say how quickly the year has gone, or express similar thoughts. What are we doing to our kids, let alone, ourselves when all we do is tell them that now doesn’t matter?
Life goes by way too fast, without us ramping up to warp speed. At this pace, if we keep pushing our rampant commercialism to the next level, we might have end-of-summer sales before the season starts. And eventually, the further we push things ahead, we’ll meet at the actual time that would be appropriate for a particular holiday or season. At the rate things are going, I’m giving it two years for everything to sort itself out and catch up to itself.
Meanwhile, I hope you had a very happy holiday season, and I’d like to wish you all a very Happy 2017.
Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved