Sunday, December 4

The Stores are Totally de-Christmas'd

You don’t appreciate a New York Christmas until you have to celebrate Christmas someplace else. I learned this while living in Charleston, SC. It wasn’t just Christmas that seemed less than whole, it was all the holidays. Even the Fourth of July was not as loud as it is in NY, which is interesting since fireworks are legal in SC and not in NY. Holidays seem to be celebrated with more intensity in New York than in other places. Palm trees with Christmas lights just aren’t the same thing.

There is much in the news about the ‘war on Christmas.’ I was originally going to write about how sterile I found shopping in Target this last Saturday. Officially, Target states that they have nothing against Christmas, just that it does not fit into this year’s “Gather Round” slogan of theirs. Too bad as one of the nice things about Christmas shopping is getting into the whole Christmas mood. Christmas decorations, Christmas music and people saying Merry Christmas! I find it hard to explain the atmosphere inside Target other than they did a good job of killing the Christmas spirit. They also failed to even instill the slightest of any holiday spirit. IF this is what Target wants, that’s fine. I still shopped there. I just didn’t Christmas shop there. I just couldn’t get into the mood. I didn’t even check the DVD section as I normally do. I just wanted out of there. However, after today’s venture to the mall, it appears that the war is over, and has been lost.

Feeling cheated by the Target experience, I went to Tyson’s Corner Mall in Northern Virginia. That was a huge mistake. There was a Santa Clause. That is the extent of Christmas at the mall. I did not spot the word “Christmas” once. (I didn’t see if Santa’s spot mentioned Christmas) Not once. There weren’t even that many Happy Holiday signs. Places like the Levi Store didn’t even attempt to decorate the store. A couple of places did mention free holiday shipping, which suspiciously ended on the 22nd. I guess you don’t get free shipping for the New Year holiday.

Lucky for me, I’m off to Finland for Christmas this year. They still celebrate Christmas there. So I’ll do my Christmas shopping there. I no longer have that much to do anymore. I have done a great job de-gifting Christmas. My wife and I do not exchange gifts. Instead of giving a gift to my brother and his wife, we setup a stock account for each of them and just make a contribution to the accounts for their birthdays and Christmas. I also opened an account for my youngest brother as all he ever wants is money. My wife and her family came to an agreement that we will not exchange presents this year. Instead we’ll all contribute some food and wine and make a really great feast to enjoy instead. (Not that the feasts were shabby in previous years.) If you didn't already know, Finland is the home of Santa Claus. (It's only his Corporate Headquarters that are located in Alaska.)

So I really can’t complain about the lack of Christmas in the stores since I no longer do much Christmas shopping. I just wonder if it was the lack of Christmas Spirit that contributed to my lack of Christmas Shopping.

Fred and Santa - Finland, December, 1998

Looking for some last minute gift ideas?

How about a Redwood Tree?

I have a couple and I'm taking some with me to Finland. Her is a pic of my Coastal Redwood. I also have a Sequoia.

They even have Christmas Specials!

You can surprise people with American wine. Of course you can get some French wine, but why? There is a huge selection of great American-made wine and US-Champagne to choose from.

You can also check out Lee Valley Tools. They have a great selection. Their catalog also identifies the products that are made in the US and in Canada. Products do not seem to be marked online. But that is just an incentive to get on their catalog mailing list. If you have a garlic nut you need to find a stocking stuffer for, then I suggest that you consider getting the Garlic Mincer:

Just remember that it’s ok to buy gifts made anywhere in the world. A good effect of outsourcing is that it creates jobs overseas. That means that there are them many less people desperate to get into the US. Foreigners need jobs too. Just not all of them.

Brand Loyalty – Buy American - FFI

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