Friday, November 23, 2007

Wal Mart vs Charlie Brown

By now, most every clerk and sales associate is dead-assed tired from a long day, a black day, a good day. I'm talking about Black Friday, the official kickoff to the Christmas season. It's a day during which more Americans than ever go out before the crack of dawn to go shopping all day long, or at least grab up cheap merchandise at bottom-dollar prices. Plus, now there's online deals for that day, and for Thanksgiving itself, and separate Saturday specials, and some stores are open on Thanksgiving with specials for just that day too. To put it bluntly, it's an orgy of shopping and spending and a wonderful affirmation of our capitalistic system. This is my second year since being in retail on this day, and I sure do miss the rush. Since I was earning by selling, the Christmas season always meant better paychecks. it also meant a twelve hour day wasn't too bad. Of course, I didn't get out to any stores today until noon, and just picked up a few odds and ends I needed.

In contrast, there's A Charlie Brown Christmas. It is simply the best Christmas special ever made, period. If you have never seen it, you should probably have someone hit you in the head for missing it, since it has been around longer than I have (1965), runs on network television every year, and is now available on DVD (thus, the link above). I have noticed that the animation is crappy by today's standards, it possesses a multitude of gaffes, and the plot is essentially like a bunch of comic strips duct taped together, but it has a simple message. Charlie Brown simply rejects the commercialization of the holiday and discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Linus delivers the true message of Christmas as simpy as only a child wise beyond his years could do. And even in messing things up, Charlie Brown picks the nearly dead, but perfect tree.

My point is that this holiday season is commercial as hell and I wouldn't want it any other way. But it is also critical that we remember what it is really about, and pass that on to the next generation. So go out there and spend. And spend and spend and spend. Then, sit back with your tree on, some Christmas music on your speakers, an adult beverage in your hand, and enjoy yourself on the way through the holiday madness. At least that's what I try to do. Either that, or watch the news stories about how someone is trying to ban Christmas. But that's for another day....

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