In a Time oped titled "Merry Hallowmas", Nancy Gibbs complains that corporations are forcing a longer holiday season on us, for nefarious reasons:
"A perpetual Holiday," George Bernard Shaw said, "is a good working definition of hell." This year the perennial ruckus over little girls’ slutty Halloween costumes was still going strong even as the perennial ruckus over the War on Christmas began. It’s as though we’ve supersized our holidays, so that they start sooner, last longer and cost more, until the calendar pages pull and tear, and we don’t know which one we are meant to be celebrating. …
August is the rare month with no shared celebration in it, when we gasp along for weeks on end without collective permission to overspend, overeat and overindulge. Given that hardship, retailers seize the opportunity. Now it’s not only school that starts the day after Labor Day; so does Halloween. Target and Wal-Mart had their spooky gear out by the following weekend. Monthly magazines do Halloween in the September issue, so Christmas can hit in October.
Sorry, I don’t see a conspiracy of thugs beating up retailers who refuse to join a holiday campaign. Instead, I see a vigorous competition among retailers trying to attract customers who want a longer holiday season. Complaining that retailers force a long holiday season makes no more sense than saying studios force violent movies, or that newspapers force horse-race style election-coverage. Retailers, studios, and newspapers mostly just anticipate consumer demand for such things. If you want someone to blame, stand in a crowd and look around.
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