Friday, October 03, 2008

A Gentle Reminder, As Well As An Elucidation

Please don't forget to send me your self-portraits. Come Monday, I'll be publishing all that I've received. Remember: There are prizes for everyone!

(Image courtesy of Thanksgiving Corner)

(Much of the following was written during the Thanksgiving Comes First campaign of last year, but some of it needs repeating and some of it is, I believe, worth repeating.)

There was one important thing I didn’t do in my original post. I didn’t ask you to keep the ball rolling. In order for this thing to have any real effect, it has to keep spreading via others. While I truly LOVE anything you do in response, we have to ask others to do the same. If we don’t, then we’re just ranting. While that might certainly be fun, it doesn’t accomplish nearly as much as making our feelings known and also getting others to make their feelings known.

I firmly believe – and I’m sure you do, too – that the great majority of people are sick to death of the way Christmas has been commercialized. I’d be willing to bet that whenever you talk to anyone about this stuff, they almost always say, “Yeah, me, too!”

Don’t you think we hold the majority opinion on this? If there were some way we could vote on it, wouldn’t we win easily? I sure think so. I think that for every person who loves hearing Christmas music at the beginning of November, there are ten of us who want to blow up the radio it’s playing on. I know that’s the way I feel. And I really, truly LOVE Christmas music. I honestly do. I own some 35 or 40 CDs full of Christmas music. But it has its place, and November (or, God help us, October) really isn’t it.

Are we tilting at windmills? I’d like to think we're not. The response thus far, from all of you kind folks, gives me hope that it’s a winnable battle.

Can you imagine how sour the pusses of some corporate execs would be if they received printed-out copies of blogs that say "Thanksgiving Comes First"? What if all of us called or wrote some radio station, telling the programming director that we decided to stop listening? If we all wrote a “letter to the editor” at our local papers, we could definitely expect some to be printed. Last year, mine was - and I’m not nearly as eloquent as some of you. Who knows how many good people might see something like that and decide that they, too, would like to reclaim the season from the merchants?

If we were to flood retailers with e-mails saying that we won’t shop at their stores – giving them the idea that it will cost them actual profits - they’ll listen. Profit and loss is what they judge by, so if we speak with our wallets and purses...

Sooner or later, if we all do one or two of these things, I honestly think we can have some effect. I’m not saying that we’ll bring the corporate world to its knees, nor would I want that. This isn’t a power trip. But, if we can get them to ramp it down a bit, that would be an accomplishment of which we could be proud.

What this is all about, truly, was brought home to me while I was watching Mister Rogers the other day.

You may already know that I consider Fred Rogers to have been an actual living saint. He really was a nice man, as I detailed in a previous post. Anyway, on one of his shows that aired recently, he was explaining the concepts of noisy and quiet. In order to illustrate the difference, he took his television audience to see a musician friend of his.

Fred had the musician, a percussionist, play his many instruments. Some were very loud, while others were soft and gentle. Afterwards, Mister Rogers looked into the camera and spoke. I have to paraphrase, but it will be close enough. He said, “In music, the silences are just as important as the loud parts.”

That’s a very profound statement. The silences are just as important as the loud parts. It’s true, isn’t it? Without the silences, it’s just noise. The silences – the pauses, the gaps, the unfilled spaces – are what give the notes their power and meaning. And when it comes to a holiday, the silences – the quiet times preceding (or even within) the holiday – are extremely important. They give the celebration its power and meaning. That’s why I care so deeply about this. We all need some silences. They’re just as important as the loud parts.

Please keep writing, as well as asking your friends to write. Send off a letter or two, and let us know what sorts of responses you receive. As promised, I’ll list (and link to) all of your blogs next Friday, a week from today.

Thank you for helping.

For now, Google the phrase "Thanksgiving Comes First" and you'll find many of our postings. That simple act, in and of itself, also helps to spread the message. Getting many hits on Google, for the phrase, will bring it to the attention of some more good people.

MORE from last year, if interested.

See you Monday, with fun artwork.


lime said...

i agree with you completely. the commercialization drives me nuts and i don't want to deal with christmas stuff in october. for crying out loud a store i went into had christmas gear out as soon as they took down the back to school displays. unreal.

the phrase "the silences are as important as the loud parts" really is a potent idea. so glad you shared that with us.

Janet said...

Too late for me - I was in Kmart the other day (September 30 mind you) and the Christmas stuff was already out. But I will write letters anyway. I can't threaten not to shop there, since all we have is Walmart and KMart.
But I wholeheartedly agree with you - I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas music, but I don't need to hear it or see anything about it until the day after Thanksgiving (and I DO NOT SHOP on that day either - that's the day we start decorating).
Of course, I'm pretty guilty on the other end. I hate to take the stuff down. Winter is so dismal and removing all t he pretty stuff just makes it worse. My brother-in-law rips everything down the day after Christmas and chastises us for leaving it up until Epiphany. But really the 12 days of Christmas START on Christmas Day, so I have tradition on my side.
Um, gee, sorry, that was a post-length comment.
And it's about to get worse. My scanner doesn't like my picture. Apparently the sketch is too pale and it can't read it, so it will be later tonight before I can send it.

Hilary said...

I do wish you luck with your Thanksgiving Comes First campaign and offer my support with encouragement. The activism just doesn't have the same impact on or from a Jewish Canadian. :/

Looking forward to see your Monday post. How many drawings have your received by now?

Suldog said...

Lime - Fred Rogers was a deeply profound man, although his wisdom was given in such simple ways as to make it appear simplistic.

Janet - Don't worry about the length. I have nothing against long comments.

I'm looking forward to the artwork!

Hilary - I've received 8 pieces, thus far. That includes yours, of course, and thank you again!

Cath said...

Now you gave me something I CAN do which won't at the same time compromise my beliefs. I agree with the no Christmas music etc. but for different reasons and I don't do either Christmas OR Thanksgiving. So I can't very well write a post "Thanksgiving comes first." Not with any conviction anyway. I'm also not American. Brits don't do Thanksgiving. So again, it's that conviction-in-a-post thing. So on two counts I couldn't do this post, and I felt I wanted to help a friend, just not sure how to.

But now?
I'm a-googling for ya.....

Neponset River Bridge Dig said...

Happy Halloween, Suldog.

Anonymous said...

How ironic at the bottom of YOUR blog.... I found the following in small print. WTF ?

Christmas Collar Holiday Christmas Dog Christmas Stockings Christmas Pajamas Unique Christmas Gifts

Anonymous said...

P.S. Sometimes you just can't win!

Suldog said...

Uncle Jim - Yeah, I know. I've got no control over that content. I'm hoping that, when I change gears on Monday (you could send me a drawing, too, you know) that the advertising will also change.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Hate the Halloween stuff in the stores right after the 4th of July, and the pumpkins before school starts. Argh! If I can figure out how to send a self-"drawering," I will. If not, feel free to use the one at my blog today under the heading, Athletic Supporter. LOL

Saz said...

well being a brit in britland and having experienced 'thankgsgiving' in your homeland a few times...and I really loved it by the way.
I always think of xmas as my kind of thanksgiving, as I give thanks at that time for what ;'m grateful of and for...and give to my loved ones, to show how l appreciate their love and friendship...all the christmas clutter and claptrap you can keep!

a carol and a slice of cake and l'm anyones!

Anonymous said...

Yep. Dad-gummit...Christmas stuff is out and the Halloween stuff is gone as are the turkeys.

Unknown said...

Interesting ideas as far as who to address with the issue. I will definitely consider doing some of this.

Something else that my mom started last year in our family and we are keeping alive this year (well at least we are, don't know about everyone else) is that we are no longer buying each other "stuff". No mall shopping, no returning things we don't need or want anymore. We all find the charity of our choice and request donations be made in their names instead. Made me feel SO GOOD last year to discover new ones and make those contributions! I don't want to bring down the retail giants either but there are definitely some in far greater need than corporate CEOs bottom lines.

Fantastic post!

Michelle H. said...

Your message has been heard here, Suldog.

I guess my main beef(turkey) was all those "Christmas in July" ads ran on my favorite radio station. Drove me (more?) bonkers.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a comment yesterday but it didn't take, so here goes again.

I do so agree with you re the commercialisation of Christmas, and yes it all comes too soon and take the gilt off the gingerbread, so to speak. But it will take more than we feeble few to change things around, but it's a start, right?

We now have a big deal over Halloween, thank's to you guys, but it too comes around too early and each year gets a bit more dangerous.

All we can do is refuse to be pulled in [no good boycotting stores cos they ALL do it, seems as if they are in competition as to which one will be first, then when it happens the decorating damn bursts and it all ends in tears.]So we will have to cut back on the 'do better thanlast year'syndrome and leave it all to the last per usual.

I will be making my Christmas Cake next week needs a good long time to soak up all the Brandy and Whisky.

SandraRee said...

My boys grew up watching Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. I do miss him.

Christmas almost always brings stress to my life, especially if it’s touted before we even experience Halloween.

This is a good campaign, Suldog.

Suldog said...

Thank you, you lovely people! I'll be gathering you all up into my arms and giving you a group hug come Friday!

Rob said...

Thanks for bringing this back to our attention. My Thanksging comes first is schedules to post this Friday, the 10th of October.

Enjoy your autumn!

Suldog said...

Thank you, Dusty. I know you're a long-suffering victim of this stuff.

(Dusty was blogging about this even before me, last year.)

I'll be collecting all of the links and publishing them on Friday, folks, so get a blog up if you're able, please.

Laurie Allee said...

I totally agree. WHat I find really bizarre is the way CHristmas stuff is now displayed right alongside the jack-o-lanterns... and it starts here Southern California just after Fourth of July decorations are taken down.