A Woman’s View: The frantic holiday season

Everywhere you turn, the holidays have exploded as if on steroids.  Fake snow, mistletoe, trees, toys, sale prices and hordes of people – ’tis the season to be cranky?

What happened to spreading the holiday joy and celebrating a time of family togetherness?  It seems that with each passing year the holidays become more about presents and a frantic race to ensure that the hottest new item is purchased before it is sold out.

Almost as soon as Thanksgiving ended, the NEast became covered in lights, decorations and holiday advertisements.  Earlier and earlier each year, stores seem to have a growing monopoly on what defines our holiday season.

“I can’t believe how out of hand Christmas is,” said Christina, an annoyed shopper at Franklin Mills Mall. “What happened to families being together and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas?  It seems to have been forgotten behind the muddle that is mass-produced presents.”  She continued, “Look at this. I have claw marks on my hand of a woman who was fighting me for the last Playstation game at Toys ‘R Us and actually ripped it out of my hands and ran.”

Indeed, this is a joyous time of year, and we cannot deny that receiving and giving presents is fun, but it seems like many have lost the meaning of the holiday spirit and replaced it with greed.

I’ve seen more fights break out in malls and store at this time of year over an inanimate object among shoppers desperately trying to make a purchase.  Black Friday is dedicated to massive amounts of people all scrambling for the best deals and hard-to-get games and toys.  The crazed crowds in stores and malls have actually been known to trample people to death.  It is because of this reason I think that many people have lost the spirit of the season.

“I did all my shopping on Black Friday a couple weeks ago, and it was crazy.  I got bruised and pushed so much I was black and blue all over,” said Nycola. “No wonder people order online anymore and avoid the stores. I had to wake up at 3 a.m. and still waited in line for over two hours.  The worst part was by the time I got to what I wanted, it was gone.  Never again!”

It is a small wonder why people have turned from the smiling gift-giving cheerful attitudes to cranky.  Parking lots are a veritable demolition derby with accidents, small crashes and jam-packed traffic.  People are franticly racing for the last-minute best buys or new shipments of the year’s hottest items.

The best advice at this time of year is to take your time and not to rush.  When you venture out to a mall or store expect a wait and expect disappointment if your item is out of stock.  It is easier for adults to understand the concept of waiting and disappointment, but children who have their hopes set on a certain item can cause parents grief and anguish if they cannot acquire it.

“I tried so hard to get my son this new Wii game and I just couldn’t do it.  It is his first year not believing in Santa, which is sad enough, but now to disappoint him without the one thing he asked for just makes me want to cry,”  Said Jasyme.  “I have called all over and even have a cousin in L.A. trying to find it and possibly ship it to me.”

The holidays are a great time of year and should be celebrated with or without presents.  Obviously, for children, having presents is one of the best parts. But hopefully parents will be able to accommodate their kids in a reasonable fashion and not get in accidents, beat up, go into dept or get hurt because of it.

Be careful this holiday season and try to embrace the “good will toward men [and women]” attitude, no matter how hard it may seem.  Instill the lighter side of the holidays with a family togetherness meaning in children and other adults. Lets stop being cranky and enjoy ourselves this season.  Have a happy and safe holiday – it is more fun then being frantic.

A Woman’s View is a column about women’s issues written by Donna Ward. The column appears every other Thursday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEastPhilly columns here.

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