Now that Halloween has passed the Christmas decorations are going up in earnest and the complaints that Christmas has become too commercial (and that Hanukkah, as one reader put it, “gets shafted”) are flying fast and furiously. People are screaming that we skip right over Thanksgiving and large retailers from Target to Nordstrom are listening by waiting until the day after Thanksgiving to put up the Christmas decorations. The truth is they are up before Thanksgiving is actually over; you just don’t actually see them until the stores open their doors at Midnight on Black Friday, the first official minute after Thanksgiving (which ironically forces employees to give up their holiday to come in and decorate).
Do you see the hypocrisy here? Are you a part of the problem or a part of the solution? After researching the matter until I was thoroughly exhausted (and keep in mind that cats get exhausted quickly and easily) I came up with the following quiz for you to take – and send to your friends to take – to see if you are a part of the reason that Christmas* has become so commercialized:
*I do not mean to leave out my Jewish brethren, but this year Hanukkah starts the day after Thanksgiving and is completely left out of the annual madness. Feel free to have fun with this quiz just the same; I included an option for you on every question! No offense is meant to my Atheist, Wiccan, Muslim, and other readers of non-traditional American beliefs either; have fun pointing out the hypocrisy that has taken over the season.
The Commercialization Of Christmas Quiz
By Tazi J. Kat
1. If you send them, when do you buy your Christmas cards:
a. Before Thanksgiving, as soon as I see them for sale, so I can have them signed, sealed, and ready to deliver the weekend after Thanksgiving
b. Sometime between Christmas and New Year’s (you can get a great sale price after the holiday!)
c. I am Jewish. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find Happy Hanukkah cards among all this Christmas stuff???
2. Your wrapping paper is decorated with pictures of:
a. Santa Claus, Christmas trees, skating penguins, and other winter themes
b. The Madonna and Child, scenes from a manger, and other religious pictures
c. I’m Jewish! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find wrapping paper with Menorahs on it among all this Christmas stuff???
3. It’s sometime between Midnight and 6:00 AM on Black Friday and lucky you, you have the day off from work! Where are you?
a. Out shopping – this is when you get the best sales on the best stuff! It will all be gone by 8 AM!
b. At home, sleeping. There’ll be other sales between now and Christmas
c. I’m Jewish! I’m at home preparing the big feast I am hosting tonight, in celebration of Hanukkah. (Incidentally, my gift shopping is long done; thanks for all the Hanukkah sales, retailers!)
4. To you, the meaning of Christmas is:
a. An opportunity to spend time with my loved ones and to show love through the giving and receiving of presents (we have to have presents!)
b. A celebration of my religious faith
c. A day off with pay, thanks to the religious-bias of the Federal holiday system that requires me to take personal days to observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (yep; I’m Jewish!)
5. You wish people…
a. “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”; I don’t want to offend anyone and besides there are several holidays happening in December
b. “Merry Christmas”, since America is overwhelming Christian, but will stand corrected if the person celebrates something else and wish them a “Happy ______”
c. Would recognize that not everyone celebrates the Christian holidays and that the Judaic culture has contributed a great deal to the American culture – like that bagel and schmear they are eating
6. You take your Christmas tree down:
a. The day after Christmas – the holiday is over
b. Sometime between January 1 and the day after the Feast of the Epiphany – Christmas is 12 days long
c. I don’t have a Christmas tree to take down (but my menorah comes down the day after Hanukkah ends)
7. What are your thoughts on 24/7 Christmas songs on the radio:
a. I love them and look forward to them starting in mid-November
b. I think they should hold off until Christmas week, and even then I switch the station to one that plays a mix of music
c. Why in the world are Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler (two nice Jewish girls!) singing Christmas songs? Oy vey!
8. Do you take your kids to see Santa at the mall?
a. Yes; in fact, we go to the Santa parade and breakfast every year to watch him arrive
b. Yes, but usually not until mid-December, if at all. Christmas is about Christ, not Santa!
9. On Christmas Eve/Day, do you attend religious services?
a. No. My kids are young and really wouldn’t understand the meaning of it. Maybe when they are older, but then again I haven’t been to church in years so maybe not
b. Always, without fail, unless I am sick in bed which means I am also too sick to celebrate Christmas
c. Do you really need to ask?
10. The day after Christmas you feel:
a. Let down. So much work went into it and now it’s all over for another year
b. Contented. Christmas has a way of filling my soul with faith and warn feelings
c. Hung over. Let me tell you, I had a wild time at this year’s Matzo Ball!
11. Do you own an Elf on the Shelf?
a. Yes, and I move it faithfully every night! I even pull it out for other holidays, too!
b. No/My answer may as well be no for all the attention I pay to it.
c. I am so glad that Hanukkah has not been co-opted by the retailers!
If you got:
Mostly A’s: You are part of the problem about which so many people are complaining. If you are one of the complainants you need to, as Michael Jackson suggested, start with the man in the mirror and make that change. If on the other hand you are happy just the way you are you may want to keep that opinion to yourself lest Bill O’Reilly and his FOX News followers come after you with pitchforks and flaming clubs.
Mostly B’s: You are doing your best to keep Christ in Christmas, and have the right to complain that the holiday has become far too commercial. Your next step is to write or email retailers and let them know that you will not stand idly by as they turn your Advent period into a three-ring circus. To stay silent is to give your blessing.
Mostly C’s: I thank you for staying with me this far! I hope your Hanukkah preparations are going smoothly and that your Festival of Lights is a joyous one! (Only two weeks to go – have you finished your shopping yet? Can you save me a honey puff or two?).
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.