Holidays, Retail and Mental Health

One of the most pervasive messages of these times is the importance of living in the moment, cherishing today as the day that we can truly live. We know that obsessing over the past or worrying about the future is to be avoided at all costs as it is a waste of the precious time we have and a proven detriment to out mental health.

The only ones who seem to be totally tone deaf to this message are those who control the retail industry.    It is September.   In stores across the country there are shelves displaying the remnants of back to school sales, summer decor and  beach toys.   Meanwhile, seasonal display areas are filling up with Halloween Costumes, Thanksgiving decorations, Christmas wrappings and sparkling, inflatable lawn ornaments.   Is rushing the seasons necessary?  Is it good for us, our families,  our society?  Is it responsible marketing?

Years ago, we had time to live. We had spring days to splash in puddles or indulge in long walks to enjoy the annual rebirth of nature. We had long summer days to savour the sunshine and flowers and fresh vegetables. We had autumn days to jump in dried leaves with our tots and evenings to curl up with a good book. We had winters for watching pure white snow blanket the neighbourhood, snow men to build, toboggans to ride and hot chocolate and fresh homemade cookies to savour. Holidays and special events were few and far between – and they were special.

Now, we cannot get through one holiday without gearing up for the next big event, thanks to the retail industry. Adults and children alike are so burnt out by the time the actual holiday arrives, it is destined to be a stressful letdown.

For many, holidays are stressful at the best of times. Many are dealing with celebrating the 1st after the loss of a loved one, or the reminder of the loss of a loved one. For many parents and grandparents, holidays are a financial strain they can scarcely afford. For others, who grow up outside the Christian faith, Christian based holidays are a time to feel excluded, removed from their neighbours and co-workers. For the many children who struggle through our overcrowded school system, the sight of back to school sales in mid-July is cruel and traumatic.

Why do we as a society allow this perverse marketing? Why do our various levels of government, who have no problem mandating so much of our lives, not step up and place some restrictions on irresponsible retailers? Why does anyone need Christmas displays in September?


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