Save me, Meemaw!



Between Conan and Jimmy last night I got swallowed in a bit to Home Shopping Network’s Christmas in July, a marathon sales event on the channel this week, featuring the latest ornaments and all that. I love listening to the callers, of course. Meemaw Nation is ready for Christmas, y’all! One caller cooed about a glowing ornament that has an angel inside it. She’d bought it for herself, last year, but gave it to a friend who has been “very ill” and kept the glowing angel on her dresser and loved gazing at it. The three women hosting the segment all cooed and awwwed in approval. The caller bought the complete set. The little counter at the bottom of the screen went bonkers — while I watched for 10 minutes, 8,000 people allegedly called in and bought the glowing orbs, and little banana hooks to hang them from.

Oh, and BTW, the new Hallmark ornament catalog Dreambook for 2009 is out — what? You didn’t go get yours yet?

All of which to say: the season has begun. Sears can’t resist the urge and has opened Christmas Shoppe displays already in its stores.

This sort of thing drives some people APE SHIT. Purists don’t want to see or hear about a Christmas anything in any store before Thanksgiving. Not because they hate Christmas, but because they hate the commercialization of it, taking umbrage at the sensation that retailers start shoving Christmas in our faces earlier and earlier each year. It’s a perennial gripe. But this year, it’s extra fraught, because retailers like Sears (which once so warmly identified with the unofficial start of Christmas by delivering its Wish Book sometime in the crisp early autumn) are slowly bleeding to death as it is. They want Christmas now. Now now now. It’s their last hope.

You or I might see this as a bad business plan. Irritate me about Christmas now and I’m likely to go all Bill McKibben on you and just skip the holiday, or make this the year my family snaps out of it and instead we decide to have ourselves a down-home Laura Ingalls Wilder holiday, where we give one another fruit, homemade rag dolls, and love. (Imagine what that would do to the economy.)

But you and I are not part of Meemaw Nation. Ornament-collecting grammas and nanas will save this economy, one way or another, if it’s the last thing they do.

How about you? How does seeing Christmas deco in the mall in July make you feel?


  1. Nicole on July 15, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Meemaw Nation. BRILLIANT. You’re bookmarked, baby. Bring it on. And why aren’t you watching the wedding on the “Today” show? It is positively wretched.

  2. Emily on July 15, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I wonder, when Sears is literally launching Christmas in July, how
    the Christmas sales numbers are generated. Does this make matters look
    more dismal? Do they want to be killed slowly?

    Christmas no longer seems to be the panacea for the retailers
    (big box or mom and pop) that it once was to otherwise slow years.
    I really doubt that Meemaw’s pockets are deep enough to sustain the
    production, distribution, marketing and sustainability of 6+ months

    Plus. Barf.

    Also curious to know about the numbers on those pop-up Christmas shops
    that can be found in the vacant caves of shopping and strip malls.
    How many will be back this year?

    Wonder when Christmas starts in Portugal, a country with an population,
    estimated to be 80%+ Roman Catholic. Will report back.

  3. Emily on July 15, 2009 at 11:53 am

    (I need an editor that can see beyond the edge of this comment
    screen. Apologies for misuse of prepositions, etc.)

  4. pato' on July 15, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Well, Hank, I try to stay out of the mall, even in July. But I’ve seen Xmas creep down the aisles of many a Target and Home Depot earlier and earlier. I’m a traditionalist, I guess — the result of growing up Woolworth — my dad was a career store manager for that departed (circa mid-/late 1990s) retailer.
    Season creep is for … well, creeps. But I do understand the “stimulus” nature of it this year.
    Growing up in SoCal, there was this place out in the east ‘burbs called Holiday Hill, where they had a whole Xmas tableau when the season officially arrived after T-giving, but which had one or two shops (“shoppes”) open year-round. The forerunner, perhaps, of all those 365-day-a-year Christmas Stores that dot the landscape. I still have an old frosted glass ornament my mom bought there one year, though I forget if it was in Nov-December or some other month.

  5. Jill on July 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    What do the economists say about those of us who decide, okay, this year I’m going to get my shit together and shop early for the family – spread the pain out from July to August by purchasing just a little bit at a time (I noticed Kmart is appealing to back-to-school shoppers of this ilk with a special layaway plan). I’ve taken a step towards that organizational nirvana – though I haven’t actually BOUGHT anything, I have bookmarked several boutique sites that look promising.

  6. Tracy F on July 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Christmas is the most conflicted and distraught time of the year for me. I struggle between giving it personal meaning and meeting the expectations of others (primarily my family, but I have friends). I don’t really care what holiday is being pimped at the grocery store, it discusts me. How many colors of M&Ms do we need to prove we are properly honoring our traditions? I get to be especially high and mighty with my own vocation as an Environmental Projects Coordinator, asking people to recycle, reduce and reuse among other sustainable living practices.

    There are other issues I have with Christmas that most retail establishments have nothing to do with, but they sure do make picking what is important about the holiday an emotional shell game.

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