Last week, my son Christian and I were walking into the Monmouth Mall to pick up some Wii-U games that he pre-ordered from a few weeks back. As we were approaching the automatic doors, we heard a Christmas song piped in over the mall’s public address system. I turned to my son and said “Are you kidding me?! Christmas music in mid-November?”
A worker who was sitting on a bench outside the mall taking a cigarette break heard us and said “I’ve been hearing this since Halloween.” I shook my head in utter amazement.
Since I was a kid, I always thought there was an unwritten rule that Christmas music would not be heard on the radio until at least the day after Thanksgiving. It was almost like the rule where you couldn’t wear white shoes past Labor Day. Over the last several years, slowly but surely, the holiday music, along with the holiday sales, have been creeping backwards in the calendar. What next? Pre-Christmas sales co-mingled with Labor Day sales?
Every year, my family has a tradition on the day before Thanksgiving. After work, my wife and I would pick up the kids and head out to the Monmouth Mall. We’d go straight for the Hallmark store, where both kids would pick out one Christmas ornaments each to be placed on the tree in our home the following month. Then we’d hit the food court or one of the mall’s fine dining establishments for a nice family dinner. It was simple, relatively inexpensive, and it was time well-spent with family.
We hardly ever went Christmas shopping on Black Friday. We all planned out what we were going to get for one another and everyone else we bought gifts for. We all found the time needed to shop and finish way before the actual holiday.
Now, the whole holiday dynamic has changed. While I can understand that the Internet and online shopping sites like Amazon.com, eBay, barnesandnoble.com, etc. have changed the way we holiday shop forever, it’s getting to be a bit much. When I start hearing Christmas tunes in early November and see retail chain store ads on the radio and TV soon afterwards, it kind of takes the fun out of the holidays.
Even a shopping day has been added – and NAMED!! Thanksgiving is now “Black Thursday”. “Black Friday” started around 9AM, or whenever a specific store normally opened. Now “Black Friday” starts at midnight.
But what’s so amazing is that people actually go out shopping during these times. That’s so hard to believe. I mean -- if you hosted Thanksgiving dinner at your house, when the heck would you be able to wash the dishes and clean the house? With an accelerated shopping schedule beginning on Black Thursday, probably not until Sunday night – just so someone can be finished with shopping for everything by the end of the week.
For me, I often wait to shop until the midway point between Thanksgiving and Christmas. For most items that I need, there’s usually plenty in stock, I can go pick things up at my own pace, and sometimes, the price might even be better than on Black Thursday or Black Friday. Simple, right?
When I was a kid, the holiday season used to make me so happy and hopeful for the coming New Year. Now it’s totally different. It’s just not the same anymore. It is times like these that I wish Santa Claus would make a comeback.
(You can also follow Kevin Cieri's blog on his Facebook page, "Jersey Shore Retro" as well as on Twitter @jsretro).