Saturday, November 03, 2012

Shoppers Turned Off the Christmas Music

Since we moved to Chilliwack, I don't shop at Shopper's Drug Mart that much.  Don't get me wrong; I like the store, it's just that with choices about where to shop and a greater selection at those stores, there's not really any reason for me to make a special trip specifically to Shoppers unless I'm going to the post office.

Yesterday I was there picking up some stamps and as always, stopped to look through the book selection at the magazines.  Halloween candy, marked down since the holiday was the day before, was stuffed on the shelves near cheery Christmas decorations.

Every store, it seems, at every point in the year, has some sort of holiday merchandise out months before the actual day.  Retail works a few months ahead, inundating us so that we are enticed to buy early, buy more, buy buy buy!  It's not surprising to see Christmas merchandise in the stores this early, but suddenly my ears perked up.  Was that... Christmas music?

"Wow, seriously? 2 months of this?"  I muttered under my breath and shoved the magazine back on the shelf.  Some bad rendition of "Blue Christmas" wailed in the background and I considered leaving without looking around.

Now before you call me Scrooge, know that I like Christmas music. Just like many people, I'm fond of a good rendition of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer", and "Jingle Bell Rock".  It's just that the last few years, I've felt a little bit like a once family holiday fully of good cheer and love  has been overtaken by consumerism. The whole buy buy buy mentality has been something my family has made a conscious choice to avoid.  What do we do?

1.  Buy less

There are sales year round, and just because it's Christmas doesn't mean we have to buy it all.  John and I set a budget, give each other cash, and spend the day shopping together.  Then, to keep it fun, we go home and wrap our purchases and put them under the tree.  Stockings are fair game for surprises, and we usually get each other something fun to fill them.   For Kevin, he's now at the age where he wants us to wait and take him shopping on Boxing Day or soon after, where electronics are on deep discounts.   As for anyone else, we give home made things or gifts of time, but we don't buy a pile of presents.  What we do buy is meaningful, wanted or needed, and while our method may seem like no fun to some, it has taken a huge amount of pressure off of us.  There are never fights about presents-in fact, presents are no longer the big focus.

2. Do more with family

Our holiday is packed with low key family time.  Usually we go to some kind of event, which changes every year.  We've been known to go to the movie theatre, see a concert, or attend some kind of event.   On Christmas Eve, we have packed up the car with hot chocolate and treats, then driven through town and looked at the lights.  Kevin and I have attended the Santa Claus parade, gone skating, and more.  These things have provided us with many wonderful memories through the years!

3. Keep it simple

I learned years ago that the most simple keeps everyone the happiest.  Do I need to make the most elaborate dinner ever that keeps me in the kitchen the whole day?  Nope.  I ask my guys what would make them happiest, and most of the time it's something really small.  Kevin still remembers when Santa left Hot Wheels in the Christmas tree.  They love finding a small chocolate treat at their dinner place on Christmas Day.  You would be surprised what small, inexpensive things you can do that people will appreciate the most.

So, back to the Christmas music.  Shoppers Drug Mart, after receiving complaints on their Facebook page regarding the music so soon after Halloween, chose to suspend it for a little while.  Honestly I did think it was that big of a deal until I dropped by the page and began reading the comments people were leaving.


Almost 6,000 comments later, as I'm writing this, and here's some opinions (typos are their own, I'm not correcting anything):

" I would like to advise Shoppers Drug Mart that as of Immediatly I will no longer shop at Shoppers Drug Mart again. I am appalled at this decision." 

"For those who don't want to hear Christmas music, please don't go to the Malls, stay home and be so miserable. Live and get a live."  (

"I have no problem with Christmas music, HOWEVER I wish everyone would show respect and wait until AFTER Rememberance Day. It's called RESPECT for crying out loud."

" We have to respect other cultures! Why can't people respect ours????? I thought this was a free country!? Isn't that what our veterans fought for?"

"I am all for holiday spirit, but working for 8 hours a day in Christmas music for 2 whole months can make anyone become a bit of a Scrooge."

"Interesting how we can make accomodations for anyone else but the Christian religion. We celebrate the pagen Holiday of Hallowe'en but unfortunately sweep Christmas under the rug. Merry Christmas! Keep Christ in Christmas for those of us who believe."

Personally, I prefer Christmas music to be played in December, but I do a good job of ignoring it in stores.  I don't shop a lot anyway, so it works for me.  The irony? Some of the commenters demanding the music back are leaving offensive messages about race and religion in their argument.  

Kinda goes against the whole peace on Earth, good will towards men message of Christmas, doesn't it?

What do you think?  When is it too early to play Christmas music? Do you even care? 

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