Georgina Guedes

Christmas fatigue - in September!

2013-09-12 14:41

I know that people complain about how early Christmas carols and Christmas trees and Christmas balls and Christmas gifts make their way into our malls every year, but this weekend past, I was astonished to see Christmas chocolates already on sale in Woolworths.

I'm sure this is earlier than last year. It's barely spring. We're still at risk of another cold snap. It may yet even snow.

We roll our eyes about this every year, but there's actually something deeply troubling about the way that retailers catapult us into the next season of consumerism so fast that we barely have time to take down the Christmas lights before we're being assaulted with Easter eggs.

Hot-cross buns are sold all year round, because apparently, consumers need to have their every whim satisfied instantly, rather than having seasonal treats at the appropriate time.

But what really bothers me is the fact that we’re not allowed to be in the moment. It's early-Spring, and yet we're already being offered year-end celebration treats. By the time we get to Christmas, I'll be heartily sick of Christmas carols, and if anyone offers me a miniature Lindt teddy, I'll shove it up their... erm... nose.

Getting in the spirit

I'm all for getting into the seasonal spirit, especially since I now have children who delight in every cause for celebration. But wouldn't it make each celebration, each seasonal highlight or cultural festival that much more exciting if we hadn't had our fill of it for THREE MONTHS preceding the actual event?

What's going to happen when Halloween rolls around - little jelly-bean-filled plastic pumpkins and treat bags will jostle with chocolate angels and Christmas stockings for their position in temptation aisle?

How big does an event have to be to get backdated by three months? How early will we start Halloween?

Will this ridiculousness eventually just settle into one year-long cultural amalgam of all celebrations and festivals and religious holidays?

"Chocolate eggs, madam? They're in the Easter section, aisle 5."

"Fancy a Christmas pud? Head straight to our Yuletide corner at the back of the store."

"Valentines cards? Why didn't you say so? Just head past the Heritage Day braai area and turn left at the Eid dates display, and you'll find them."

(Sounds like a fun supermarket, actually.)

But seriously, I don't need three months to get into the Christmas spirit or to make my mind up about which foil-coated chocolate delights are going to adorn my dinner table and sicken my children. It's bad enough that we're caught up in this annual whirlwind of consumerism, without being cajoled into forking out for its accoutrements a full quarter of a year before the season begins.

So come on, retailers, give us a little break. Put out some freshly bloomed flowers, sell us some pea tendrils and baby leaf salads, and let Christmas come in late-November. I promise you’ll still sell most of your stock.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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