A Yuletide Diatribe

The Madness of Crowds The Madness of Crowds

Let’s face it, businesses, most specifically retailers, have created a three-month spending spree for the American consumer to squander what pittance remains of their measly unwashed wages. Even before the last piece of Halloween candy was doled out to the die hard costumer on All Hallows’ Eve, Christmas decorations were hung in stores with the hopes of mesmerizing consumers enough to forget the once held tradition of starting Christmas holiday shopping on Black Friday.

People, specifically fanatical Christians and opportunistic media whores, shriek about “the war on Christmas”, but it’s not necessarily brown people or the PC Police trying to homogenize Christmas with the likes of Ramadan, Kwanza and Hanukkah. Hallothx!mas is doing a better job than the combined continents of Africa and Muslim-Asia ever could.

Black Friday is called Black Friday not because it’s a racist way to describe the harbored feelings of married white men abandoned with their thoughts on mall benches throughout the country . The “black” in Black Friday references accounting terms used to describe the profitability of business. A business in the “red” is not profitable. A business in the “black” is profitable. Black Friday became known as such because the day after Thanksgiving, once the official start of the holiday shopping season, was the first day many retailers used to see annual profits.

But, as Christmas bled into Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving into Halloween, Trick or Treating should be renamed “prepubescent candy grab for holiday candy bowls”. Why on earth does anyone need a Halloween greeting card? Am I now required to mail greeting cards for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and religious holidays I don’t celebrate so as to not appear cheap or religionist?

Is that a word? There must be a word that describes hating religions. If not, how can religious followers claim victimization? We’re all victims today, right?

Forgive my rant, but I’m maxed out with guilt induced spending. We made it through Halloween okay. We didn’t even buy a pumpkin that only we’d see and would be have trashed by now due to the natural process of rotting. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust applies to gourds, too. We’re now approaching Thanksgiving and the world between the Atlantic and Pacific and between 30 degrees and 50 degree north is fully immersed in holiday festivities.

Our family already agreed to extend last year’s agreement of adults not exchanging gifts. It’s too stressful and some of us have financial goals annually thwarted by the expectation to overspend in the name of Baby Jesus who, according to most religious scholars, was likely born between May and August (sorry Mike Seaver). We still shower the kids, who will soon meet the definition of “adult”, with gifts.

To stay firm on my tradition of avoiding malls and non-food-related retailers between Black Friday and New Years Aft, we completed our childrenz Christmas shopping two Sundays ago. Blue laws be damned.

Of course, as per our usual, we’re running the Denver Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning and hosting dinner at our condo Thanksgiving afternoon. While it’s tempting to run the Turkey Trot for free, even an atheist must fear bad karma should they steal from The United Way. For both of us to run, it cost us $90. We get two t-shirts for it, so it’s not like we aren’t reciprocated with perpetual opportunities to bloviate about our healthy lifestyles.

While we are the hosts of Thanksgiving, all the orphans in attendance will contribute their own course and each bring their favorite libations. This, however, still requires of us a contribution. Since we’re hosting dinner and a 14 pound cooked and stuffed bird doesn’t travel easily, we spent $23.84 two Sundays ago to pick up a freshly decapitated bird the following Sunday. We have yet to buy our ingredients for David’s world famous braised Brussels sprouts, wine soaked cranberry sauce and, of course, wine, we’ll like spend another $52.

For Christmas Day, we’ll travel over Platte River and through Highlands Ranch for a day of cooking, wining and dining. This feast, as well, is a culinary amalgamation of contributions on which yours truly will likely spend another $50. This is after we spent about $205 on various bottles of wine for bosses, coworkers, Christmas cards and for minding Ms. Manners and not showing up to a holiday party without a tangible token thank you in hand.

All totaled, including gifts under our tree and other expenses, Debt Free Guys will likely spend over $700 in cold, hard cash this holiday season even though we’ve made slightly less than lazy attempts to not overspend.

We could be Scrooge-like curmudgeons and refuse to spend a dime on anything, but then how would companies with no stocks left to buy back make fourth quarter earnings? Someone must think of corporate America.

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