Connect with us on Facebook!
[Feeds & Readers]
Follow us on Twitter!

Make us your home page!
Authors, sign in!

« Dorothy Day, Sainthood, and the Catholic Worker | Main | Tom Hayden on democracy and social change »

Ho! Ho! Ho!—Merry Consumer Day

By Diane Wahto
December 5, 2012

Once again it’s time to get into that holiday spirit. And that also means it’s time for the FOX News folks to gin up their self-righteous anger over the “War on Christmas,” a war, mainly based on the habit of some of us to say, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” By the way, the word “holiday” has its roots in the words “holy day,” so the yammer-yammer about “Happy Holidays” constituting a “War on Christmas” shows nothing but the ignorance or the purposeful desire to cause trouble of those who say such things. This means you, Bill O’Reilly.

Further, even Christians will say that the Christmas celebration is based on Pagan practices that were in place when Roman emperors decided to throw their lot in with the Christians. An Italian tour guide made that point most convincingly when my son and I were in Rome looking at the sights. The tour guide pointed to a Christian church that had originally been a Pagan temple and told us that Christians co-opted not just Pagan buildings, but their celebrations as well.

I am convinced, however, that there is a war on Christmas, but it’s not being waged by those of us who don’t particularly get incensed about others of us who don’t say “Merry Christmas.” Rather, it’s a war waged by the forces of consumerism, forces fueled by capitalism.

Yes, indeed, those God-fearing, Jesus-loving capitalists want the working classes to get out there and shop until we drop. Take for example what happened this year to one of our most sacred holidays, Black Friday. In the last few years, Black Friday, the official first shopping day after Thanksgiving and before Christmas day has become, not a holy day, but a Day of Importance rivaling both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I suppose Hanukah and whatever holidays, including the Pagan ones that are celebrated during the Winter Solstice.

I don’t know the origins of Black Friday, but I do know the Thanksgiving edition of The Wichita Eagle became increasingly weighed down with ads over the years. The final straw came two years ago when the publisher sent a letter telling they were going to charge a small fee for the ads in the Thanksgiving paper. I called the Eagle to say no they weren’t. I did the same last year. The refund was a pittance, but for me it was the principle that counted.

This year, just before Thanksgiving, we got another letter telling us our subscription rate was going up. In exchange for that, we would get the Black Friday ads and a nifty calendar with nice pictures of the Kansas landscape, as well as access to the online newspaper, which will now cost to access.

So the Thanksgiving day paper arrived burdened down by ads, which my husband looked through while I was off having fun with my family over Thanksgiving. He bought a pair of expensive tennis shoes at a local shoe store at a much reduced price on Black Friday. That’s fine. He walks ten to fifteen miles a day and needs good shoes. Besides, I was happy he patronized that locally owned shoe store, which is one of my favorites.

However, what happened this year with Black Friday was disgusting, as far I’m concerned. First, “Black Friday” started on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. I understand some people skipped Thanksgiving dinner altogether to get in line at the stores and be the first in to shop for bargains. I think some members of my family even participated in this capitalistic free-for-all. If they did, I don’t want to know.

Then, the stories of the violence started trickling in. No one was trampled to death this year, but people were hit and threatened with fists and weapons before it was over. I can’t get the image of a man with a hateful face threatening to knife someone as people were crowding into a store.

Now the TV is filled with ads for shiny things people can buy for each other or ask each other for. It’s not that I don’t like giving or getting gifts. I love the holiday because it’s so much fun to exchange things that people want. Last year, my family members pitched in and got me a Keurig coffeemaker, which I have found to be wonderful in every way. They did that because I casually said to one daughter-in-law that I needed to a Keurig so I could make one cup of coffee in the afternoon.

You see, I like having things as much as the next person, but outside of having the essentials of life, my happiness doesn’t depend on having things. I don’t know how it happened, but one day when I was very young I had a revelation. I understood that things don’t make a person happy. In fact, things can make a person jumpy in certain circumstances. Look at the Koch brothers. They have enough things to last them into the next millennium, but they won’t be happy until the rest of us, those of us who depend on Social Security and Medicare or salaries from public service jobs are all getting our incomes from Wall Street or privatization. In their world everything else is a communist, socialist plot.

Yes, I oversimplify. But it did my heart good to see all that money that they and the Karl Roves of the world put into the last election go for naught. Enough people wised up and voted with their heads.

As for Black Friday, which now has become Gray Thursday and Online Monday, I suppose there’s no cure for the sense of battle that comes with shopping for bargains. One of my students wrote an articulate essay in the English Comp I class I taught at Butler Community College on the strategy she, her sisters, and her mother employed for a successful Black Friday shopping spree. I enjoyed reading that essay a whole lot more than I would have enjoyed participating in the shopping.

It’s not the Black Friday holiday that bothers me as much as it is that certain people will not admit that Christmas has long since stopped being a “holy day.” Rather, it has become a day to celebrate consumer goods. That’s okay, but I don’t want to hear one more person gripe when I say, “Happy holidays.”

Post your own comment

(To create links here or for style, you may wish to use HTML tags in your comments)

Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links below to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the links below, you are directly helping to support this community website:

Want to browse more blogs? Try our table of contents to find articles under specific topics or headings. Or you might find interesting entries by looking through the complete archives too. Stay around awhile. We're glad you're here.

Browse the Blogs!

You are here!

This page contains only one entry posted to Everyday Citizen on December 5, 2012 11:18 AM.

The blog post previous to it is titled "Dorothy Day, Sainthood, and the Catholic Worker"

The post that follows this one is titled "Tom Hayden on democracy and social change"

Want to explore this site more?

Many more blog posts can be found on our Front Page or within our complete Archives.

Does a particular subject interest you?

You can easily search for blog posts under a specific topic by using our List of Categories.

Visit our friends!

Books You Might Like!

Notices & Policies

All of the Everyday Citizen authors are delighted you are here. We all hope that you come back often, leave us comments, and become an active part of our community. Welcome!

All of our contributing authors are credentialed by invitation only from the editor/publisher of If you are visiting and are interested in writing here, please feel free to let us know.

For complete site policies, including privacy, see our Frequently Asked Questions. This site is designed, maintained, and owned by its publisher, Everyday Citizen Media., The Everyday Citizen,, and Everyday Citizen are trademarked names.

Each of the authors here retain their own copyrights for their original written works, original photographs and art works. Our authors also welcome and encourage readers to copy, reference or quote from the content of their blog postings, provided that the content reprints include obvious author or website attribution and/or links to their original postings, in accordance with this website's Creative Commons License.

© Copyright, 2007-2011, All rights reserved, unless otherwise specified, first by each the respective authors of each of their own individual blogs and works, and then by the editor and publisher for any otherwise unreserved and all other content. Our editor primarily reviews blogs for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting and is not liable or responsible for the opinions expressed by individual authors. The opinions and accuracy of information in the individual blog posts on this site are the sole responsibility of each of the individual authors.