Today, I bought the last gift I am obligated to purchase under the rules set forth between my brother, sister, and me. We split the family, subdivide the cousins, and purchase within limits to provide a more affordable solution to a large family. As I wandered through the local mall and plazas, I wished the crowds would abate and resume normal shopping habits. Packed stores, roads, and queues that wind through cities for miles serve only to enrage and unnerve. ‘Tis the season to be scary.
Quite a few people chided me for my enthusiasm for Black Friday when the Monday following Thanksgiving, I divulged in my economic sin. I played the role of the typical shopper on a day such as that. I scoured the racks for the best deals and the perfect gifts. I lacked, however; the unnecessary need to grab from another’s cart or remove from another’s hand. All of which I have witnessed. The fury of the shopping hysteria on Black Friday, and somewhat during the rest of the Christmas Season, ending on Christmas Eve, transforms the normal parent into a maniacal beast capable of much larger devastation than shopping on the busiest day of the year. This season, where products morph into endangered species due to demand (and supply chains nevertheless fail), the worst of people rears its ugly face.
I have my reveries about Christmas. I daydream about my excitement for Christmas morning, only to watch Dave open his gifts. I want to see his smile. I imagine the looks on my little cousins’ faces as they discover the gifts we bought only hide a much larger secret their parents kept from them, but confided in us. I yearn for the moment my stepfather will open the gift all the children know he wants. I love seeing the happiness of others, more so than my own. So, when I venture out into the night to pick up a last minute gift for a relative, it surprises me that so many people still show signs of holiday barbarism. Parking spaces are scared land. Stoplights last too long because the best gifts might still get away. People run glassy-eyed store to store, frantically searching for that last must-have item. And the spirit of Christmas slowly dies under the stars.
Some might blame the media and the mass-merchandisers, but I blame the general public for losing interest in the good of the season. Perhaps it is time to stop and watch the snowfall, recalling the holiday spirit a little at a time.