An open letter to retailers on the cusp of Christmas shopping season:
I know you have been waiting since July to debut your newest and biggest product. I know you held off as long as you could until the very end of September to start marketing the pants off of it. And I appreciate that. Even if you could not resist starting Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, I still love your holiday season. Though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I can’t get enough of the lights, the Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole music, the chance to wear sequined anything at parties. I don’t have to worry about the decorations, the gift-buying stress, the meal planning, extra travel, none of it. It’s a fabulous tradeoff.
This is the first year, however, that my older daughter will remember everything about the Christmas season. She is close to four years old, and we can’t dodge her thoughtful questions as well as we did last year. She notices everything, can’t stop talking about anything. I can’t prevent her confusion about the Christmas tree situation. I accept this. But she will wonder about the presents she sees everywhere we go–is that what Christmas is really about anyway? This insane conspicuous consumption?
Oh, and please also spare my daughter the confusion of whether Chanukah is the same holiday as Christmas. It’s not. It’s okay if you don’t market to me or my family. I’m not sure why you think Chanukah is the opportunity to market anything blue (like dishes or napkins) and call is Jewish. It’s nice to see a platter flecked with Stars of David, but I’m not running out to set the perfect Chanukah table. That’s not a thing. We celebrate a holiday that is less relevant in the scheme of things to our own religious and cultural life than Christmas. In fact, I am not even sure when giving gifts became such a big deal for American Jews because Chanukah was not always a gift giving holiday.
Rest easy, retailers. Chanukah will be over 9 days before Christmas. We won’t get in the way of your sales strategies, trying to maximize every last liquid cent in our bank accounts. We don’t care if there is a puny little menorah on your holiday display. And lay off the Chanukah cookies, please!
Besides, on this festival of lights, we eat donuts anyway.