Longwood Gardens has its Christmas display up. I'm not that big a fan of Christmas, but flowers and trees are nice.
Tonight's TV news was filled with stories of people out shopping (at 10:15pm no less) picking out that perfect gift for the people on their list. That we have been roped into buying things for more than our immediate family and close friends is a social phenomenon aside from the Christmas mess. Co-workers, casual acquaintances and newspaper delivery people are among the people who find themselves included in our holiday spending.
At my office, people will be seen leaving on Christmas Eve with bags full of crap they've gotten from their co-workers. Women, mostly. Men couldn't be bothered, and I figure if more women thought like men the entire shopping season would be reduced to a gift for their spouse or lover and nothing more. That's probably why advertising is geared toward women.
You hear a lot of complaints from people around election time, because of the constant stream of campaign ads. It annoys people to have to sit through two months of political candidates sniping at each other but it's socially acceptable for retailers to yell at us relentlessly. I guess we have our priorities aligned correctly.
Those bags will be filled with candles, trinkets and junk that people wouldn't ordinarily buy for themselves. Those are the "great gift ideas" that the TV ads tell us we can find if we go to their store.
Gift cards are great. Not everyone wants to give them though. They say they are "lazy" and require no thought. I say, keep it simple. I'd rather have a $25 VISA gift card than some useless piece of crap you picked out because you "thought you would like it." What am I going to do with a giant Hershey's Kiss? Don't think too much. I can use the card to buy a useless piece of crap on my own.
I have my priorities lined up, too.