Tis the Season

holiday

Does anyone else sense that something is different about this holiday season? We all know that Christmas and the winter holiday has become very over commercialized. For some time now, it has seemed that stores have pushed the season up. This year seems different to me.
It seems as though the season is early, but it’s the people and not the commercial establishments that are off to an early start. I notice on social media that lots of folks put up a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. Now, there are no rules about when to put up your tree, but it does seem a bit early. Driving home from my daughter’s house on Thanksgiving evening, I noticed several houses that had their tree shining and decorated, on display in the window for the world to see. Quite a few houses had holiday lights trimming the house.
What’s this all about? I have a theory that we are craving the joy that comes associated with the holidays. We are all out there looking to “make spirits bright.” I’m hopeful when I see this if I’m even close in my analysis. It seems like we’ve all been at each other’s throats this year, and anything that serves as a distraction from that can’t be all bad.
As an optimist, I look for the good in things. I am usually excited about the holidays and the end of the year. I am a firm believer in our ability to change course and reinvent ourselves if we’re unhappy with our current situation. I love the end of the year. The new beginning. Starting over and pledging yourself to new resolutions.
Some people are more cynical about the holiday season. I know that there are lots of people that are lonely and unhappy at Christmas time. Emotions run high, and patience seems to be in short supply. We’ve all had someone cut us off and give us the finger during the holiday season. It seems to be more unsettling when you’re in a holiday mood.
Is anyone else experiencing this sensation of people pushing the holiday? Are you striving for that warm feeling yourself? What’s different about this year?
2017 is my first year in a long time without having to be in a retail environment at Christmas time. I enjoyed sleeping late the day after Thanksgiving. Not having to be somewhere at 5:00 am is something to be thankful for, to be sure.
I know I’ll be making more posts about the end of 2017 as the month continues. But, you know, I thought I’d just get started early. I wish you and your friends and family a beautiful holiday season and end of the year.

– Cat

Does Black Friday Make Sense?

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Today is the day.  People are out shopping for bargains to celebrate the holiday season kickoff.  These days, corporations lean one way or the other when it comes to being open at the crack of dawn on the day after Thanksgiving, and even on Thanksgiving Day.

We are a capitalistic society, driven by consumerism.  We do live in a material world.  We have pushed the holiday gift giving frenzy to the limits. How many other catch phrases can I use to rationalize what is going on these days?  What happened to our supposed holiday of love and peace?

As I said, some corporations are bold and unashamed.  They will be open all day on turkey day, sometimes through the night, and super early the next day.  Other corporations state that their policy is to stay closed and maintain reasonable hours.  They do this out of respect for their employees.  Both stances have an impact on marketing and public relations for a company.  Both strategies also affect employees, both directly and indirectly.

Supply and demand, along with diminishing returns on brick and mortar businesses, both factor in.  Retailers are desperate to cash in during the fourth quarter.  It’s the Super Bowl of retail.

Shoppers seem to set up camp on one side or another as well.   Some people, myself included, will not shop on Black Friday or the day before.  Others have built this as a new part of the family tradition.  These shoppers are on a mission.  For me, the last thing I want to do after eating a huge feast with my family is go tromping around stores, fighting for my place, and the bargains that I deserve.  I’m just not interested, to be truthful.

Shoppers love a deal, it’s true.  I think that the funniest places to shop are Kohl’s, or Bath and Body Works.  The last time I came out of Kohl’s I paid $58 for my purchases.  My receipt says I saved $103 that day, with my coupons, my Kohl’s Cash, sale prices.  That says to me that the original prices are way too high.  Bath and Body Works.  Oh my goodness.  Buy 3, get 3 free.  20% off your entire purchase.  Free item with the purchase of something else.  On sale, today only!  And, when you’re done trying to do the math to maximize your savings, you get more coupons.  It’s a part-time job.

A few years ago, JC Penney decided they were going to stop all the coupons, special sales, and incentives.  They went to everyday low prices instead.  It was a marketing disaster that they’re still trying to recover from.  The point is, we are shopping monsters that demand 24 hour access to our sport.  Yes, it’s a sport.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  Sometimes you get trampled to death by someone trying to get to a big screen TV at Walmart before you do.  But when you get that trophy…. YES!

I have to ask this ludicrous questions about holiday shopping.  What would Jesus do?

– Cat