This has been a Get Ready for Christmas weekeed. I’ve done some Christmas shopping for friends and decorated the house. I spent Saturday morning in the park writing then came home to put up the tree. Muri was out running her own errands so I put my Christmas playlist on the stereo and turned it up to the Wife-Not-Home level. Decorating the tree is one of thos jobs I procrastinate until I begin it, then it is one of my favortie times of the holiday. We have been adding ornaments to our tree for 46 years, so each ornament I hang has a time and place attached. Rhode Island the year we got married. The year we adopted our son. The year we moved to Anaheim Hills. We had plans to go out for dinner with our friends, Ron and Kerry, on Sunday at Gulliver’s Restaurant, which is always beautifully decorated for the season, so we postponed Date Night until then. So, between decorating and errands, I watched a lot of TV. There was the NCAA FCs Football semi-finals, Chatanooga vs. New Hampshire. Watching a game between two teams I could care less about is a lot more relaxing than watching one of My Teams. Yes, I’m a poor loser. And I watched the fourth quarter and overtime of the Lakers vs. the San Antonio Spurs. If you are a sports fan at all, you know my Lakers suck this year … if you’ll pardon the expression … but they managed to win on a last second three-pointer by Nick Young. Yay. I’ve watched the tail end of The Avengers and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. I watched USC try their best to lose to Army in basketball and win anyway and I watched UCLA try their best to beat Gonzaga and lose anyway. Double yay. And naturally, since I’ve spent the so much time in front of the TV, I’ve gotten to watch advertisers Highjacking Christmas in the annual barrage of December TV commercials.
Let’s start with the very name of the holiday. I haven’t considered myself a Christian for about fifty years, but I’ve certainly seen the Keep Christ in Christmas campaign everywhere from Facebook to the sign above the Nativity Scene in front of our local Catholic church. My high school English teacher, by the way, would have said that particular scene is an anachronism … after all, at the time of the Nativity, Jesus wasn’t called Christ and there was no Christmas. Besides, the Keep Christ in Christmas campaign seemed a lot more relevant when the unreligious and the simply lazy were calling the holiday Xmas. These days, the commercials on TV don’t even keep Christmas in Christmas. These days, it’s The Holidays. It’s The Season. If you are going to make zillions off of the holiday, you should call it by it’s real name, don’t you think?. And, by the way, doesn’t it surprise you just a bit that the ad agencies, those masters of questionable taste, haven’t Kept Christ in Christmas by including Him in a commercial? Aren’t you pretty sure someone brainstorming a new Lexus ad considered putting Jesus behind the wheel? No need, they likely decided. We can co-opt the secular symbol of the giving spirit of Christmas and cast him as a materialistic buffoon without getting in trouble with those religious types. This season, I’ve seen Santa leave his reindeer home on Christmas Eve because Red Bull gives him wings and I’ve watched him send of brand new Mercedes for both the Naughty and Nice on his lists (white for the Nice and red for the Naughty). He’s pitched everything from liquor to soda to computers. But, for sure, the worst abuse of Mr. Clause comes in this commercial for bathroom deodorizer, PooPourri:
Yes, Christmas commercials bring out the Inner Curmudgeon in me. Yes, for the sake of my Christmas spirit, I should Tivo everything and skip the commercials. And this morning, we found out our friend Ron is sick and we had to cancel dinner. We are trying to decide whether going to Gulliver’s on our own would be good or bad for our holiday spirit. Sigh. So, in the interests of keeping spirits bright, I’ll close with my favorite holiday commercial. Sometimes, an advertiser like retailer John Lewis decides to create something special for the season that is more a video Christmas card than a ad.