The chief of security at one of the largest area malls reported that this year’s Black Friday was the smoothest in 13 years. He didn’t speculate on why that was true, so here’s a poll. Pick whichever explanation(s) seem most plausible:
- The population has grown more civil.
- More people are shopping online.
- After all that’s happened this year, including the election, we’re too numb to respond to the usual holiday trappings.
Yesterday, I thanked the waitress at a local waffle place for the lack of “holiday” music. “I know,” she said. “Isn’t it great? I’m hoping management keeps it up.”
I distinguish between Christmas music, which I enjoy at this time of year, and Holiday music.
People reading this blog in other countries may not be clear on the distinction. Because of our nation’s diversity, in the public sphere, both at work and in stores, we say “Happy Holiday’s” instead of “Merry Christmas.” The intent is not to offend people of other faiths. The result is largely to trivialize the whole thing. If you’ve ever gotten a song like “Little Saint Nick,” or “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” stuck in your mind, you know what I mean.
For helping spark the trend toward silence or simply generic music in stores, I present my 2012 Corporate Hero award to Shoppers Drug Mart, a popular Canadian pharmacy chain. They started playing Holiday music the day after Halloween, but received so many complaints that they pulled the plug “until further notice.”
One comment on their Facebook page read, “Starting this music so early takes the sacredness and meaning out of what should be such a beautiful season.” That sums up “the Holidays” in their entirety.
Luke’s gospel tells us that after the shepherds saw the baby Jesus, they ran off to Bethlehem to tell everyone, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” Lk 2:19.
Pondering things in our heart is how an event becomes an experience. It’s how we come to appreciate things, even simple acts like buying a gift or having waffles with a friend.
I never begrudge our merchants the chance to make a living at this time of year, and I appreciate them even more for pulling the plug on noxious music so I can treasure more of these things in my heart.