They’re Back!

I believe it was the movie “The Poltergeist,” where a little kid looked at the TV set and announced to her family, “They’re back!”  She is referencing some ghosts who have taken over the family home.  I’ve never seen the movie.  Real life scares me plenty without having to add scary movies to the mix.

Now that the holiday shopping season is here, I find myself looking at our television set and saying the same thing.  “They’re back!”  But, I’m not referring to ghosts – of Christmas past or any other variety.  I’m talking about the TV ads that appear each Christmas season, and then disappear for ten months before reappearing again.

For example, have you ever seen an advertisement for a Norelco shaver at any time other than the pre-Christmas season?  I don’t think so.  Jewelers are another group that really work hard to get our money this time of year.  The message on those ads isn’t very subtle.  There is a definite correlation between giving diamonds and getting, well, (how should I say this in a family-oriented column?) attention of a romantic and physical nature.  Meaning, if a man wants the holidays to be “happy,” he’ll buy the old gal something shiny and expensive.

Speaking of shiny and expensive, do people really give other people cars for Christmas?  If that’s the case, I’ll put a Mercedes on my list.  I guess some people must give and receive new cars, or why else would the car companies make a big deal with ads showing vehicles with giant bows on them every year at this time?  I think $45,000 is a bit much for a Christmas gift. 

Some people are very concerned about the commercialization of Christmas, but it doesn’t really bother me.  I think it’s possible to celebrate the Christian origins of Christmas genuinely and still enjoy buying presents for people – and getting them!  And, I think it’s fine for people who don’t buy the religious underpinnings of the season to get just as carried away with gifts, good will, and warm feelings. 

That being said, I’m glad to be in a family where being together trumps the material gifts we give each other.  I don’t think there will be any diamonds under the tree this year, and I’d feel silly driving a car with a bow on it.  Last year, though, we needed a new TV, so that was my gift for Christmas, my birthday, and our anniversary – all of which fall within a week of each other.  It’s a gift I’ve appreciated all year.

I think advertising plays an important role in our society, showing us products that might be useful for us to have, and helping us compare one product with another in order to make good purchasing decisions. 

But, I do feel a little peeved when Christmas ads set up a paradigm where husbands who don’t buy diamonds, or wives who don’t buy cars, just aren’t up to snuff.  Maybe I’m just cheap.  Come to think of it, that’s a real possibility.

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