November 27, 2017
I don’t know about you, but for the past 8-10 years I have witnessed a huge decline in the quality of Christmas decorations almost everywhere. It seems to match the decrease in people saying Merry Christmas and the major fall off in sales of Christmas gifts.
Don’t misunderstand. I know none of that has much, if anything, to do with the real meaning of Christmas. But for most, sadly, that ship sailed a long time ago.
So why have these things happened during a season that still excites and delights so many of us? Why does Macy's display have decorations that are worn and ragged? When did families stop decorating their homes? Where are the once fanciful decorations that used to greet us at our malls? Nowadays, Santa seems relegated to a cardboard north pole more suited to a movie promotion than a celebration most of us still find magical.
Until recently, it seems to me, our public display of the season matched more closely the personal enthusiasms most of us still feel. Not so much these days. I believe there are two major reasons:
The first is political correctness; heaven forbid that our Christmas cheer pricks the conscience of someone for whom Christmas is more a bother than a celebration. “Greetings of the season, Mr. Scrooge.” Or that we insult the atheist who believes Christmas evil because … well, he just doesn’t believe. Screw em! Merry Christmas to All!
The second reason I believe our public ardor does not match our private is due to the whole tree-hugger campaign that insists we use less power despite the fact they’ve managed to destroy most Christmas lights by insisting they be LED…YUK!
I remember well driving around neighborhoods and loving the colors of Christmas, the creative decorations and feeling very grateful to those who spent dearly the assets of time, energy, and money to provide such wonderful entertainment for anyone willing to look. The PC police have made damn sure that most of that is gone now.
I usually don’t paint with a wide brush, but those corrupted by political correctness are usually the very same people who can’t tolerate any sign of Christmas; anywhere. Paradoxically, they’re also the same people who claim toleration as the highest civic virtue.
But let the local elementary school plan a Christmas pageant, and they’re first to the scene of the crime to decry constitutional offense. The PC crowd seem far more worried muslims will take offense at Jesus in the manger than at the terrorist in their mosque. For the same reason, Christmas Vacation has been replaced by “winter break” in the official lexicon of most schools and government offices.
Every year, and to everyone I encounter, I wish them a Merry Christmas. I would not be at all offended if they wished me a happy or merry or delightful whatever holiday they celebrate. I would not return their wishes with a scowl or a grunt, but rather with a hearty smile feeling assured that the spirit of the holiday is alive and well.
My wife Catherine asked me the other day if I thought there was any correlation between the dumbing down of what Christmas really stands for among Americans and the reduction in retail sales.
Interesting, I said and I’ll bet she’s right.
Think about it. When once we launched our annual Christmas trek to the mall, we were bombarded by beautiful decorations and joyous festivities. A manger scene front and center, wonderful sparkling lights, a bigger-than-life Christmas tree surrounded with artfully wrapped gifts, and on and on. Employees, and other shoppers, wished everyone in earshot a joyful and sincere Merry Christmas. Children laughed and hopped, barely able to control themselves. Back then, such experiences put us even more in the Christmas spirit, and as a result the list of those for whom we purchased gifts grew a little longer.
Compare that experience to the sad drudgery of today’s Christmas mall expedition. Dreadful decorations. No manger. A sad little tree decorated in unsaturated colors. Employees who may offer a tepid, “happy holiday,” but don’t mean one damn word (just part of the job.)
No wonder customers flee without spending a dime. You can feel more Christmas spirit shopping online.
So to all you PC jerks … “Bah Humbug.” Do the rest of us a favor and take December off. I hear Obama is having a non-secular party at his place where you can commiserate, telling tales of how bad Christmas is and how sad it is that he was unable to get rid of it.
John Philip Sousa IV is an entrepreneur, political activist, author and accomplished business person. John has worked in the financial services industry for over 40 years, built a highly successful marketing company, ran for congress at age 24, and in 2016 created and led the successful movement to draft Dr Ben Carson into his candidacy for President of the United States. John is author of John Philip Sousa, A Patriot’s Life in Words and Pictures and Ben Carson, RX for America.