Tis the Season

It’s getting closer and closer to the big holiday of the winter season. Hell, let’s just call it the “Christmas Season” and get it over with; it’s the 900 pound gorilla in the figurative room.

Christmas, or to be more specific, Christmas *shopping* is the most important time of the year. Economically, that is. Small shops and large chain outlets alike rely on the boom of Christmas present sales to create the bulk of their sales figures for the year.

But what’s this? There’s a recession going on? People are getting laid off, salaries and benefits are being cut, premiums are rising (and affecting paychecks as well), foreclosures are through the roof, over 120 banks have failed this year while the FDIC is perilously close to being completely out of funds, inflation is getting out of hand, cost of consumer goods are going up while wages are going down.

Not to fear! The powers that be have devised a way to give all of us peons a little more cash, and in effect, artificially buoy sales figures by extending unemployment benefits until just after the “holiday season”. That way, you’re still screwed with no job in an economy that isn’t hiring, but at least you can buy some stuff you don’t need so that those Wall Street stocks don’t go down. Can’t upset that parasite investor class, now, can we? (Incidentally, Naomi Klein had a fantastic piece on the death of the ownership society and how the entire concept of haves and have nots is coming back into the public consciousness)

I remember remarking a few years back that the crappiness of the economy seemed to correlate with the earliness of Christmas (or to be PC, “Holiday”) sales. If that holds up, we’re in the toilet, as the sales started around Halloween this year.

I’ll end this on the thought that I’d rather the “Holiday season” be about spending time with family and charitable works than an ad-hyped spend-yourself-to-the-dole-queue orgy of greed and gift arms race. That’s what all these holidays are supposed to be about, right? Christmas is about a figurative birth of a way of life, Hannukah is about maintaining a way of life in the face of oppression, Kwanzaa (… is a made up holiday, as they all are), but is about culture and unity, and Yule is the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. Drop the greed, do a good deed, and have a happy new year!