Last weekend I went to Target to shop for Halloween candy and decorations. I was hoping to get a Halloween themed t-shirt as well while I was there. Instead, all I could find were Christmas sweaters. There were also Christmas decorations everywhere, candy canes for sale, and all kinds of Christmas lights. I came back to my dorm and went to the market in the dorm and found candy canes. As I was walking around campus the next day, I saw three different people wearing Christmas sweaters. I don’t know when it happened, but it appears that Christmas is here already.
Unlike his other books or serials, Charles Dickens published his Christmas stories, such as A Christmas Carol and The Chimes, without advertisements accompanying them. This is because these stories were advertising Christmas. They were selling both Christmas consumer goods and the lifestyle that requires someone to purchase all kinds of Christmas consumer goods.
This consumer lifestyle is still very much present today. In fact, the idea of Christmas is getting sold to consumers earlier every year. Before, it was Black Friday when Christmas began. People became angrier and angrier as Black Friday sales became earlier and earlier. I was talking to someone the other day who said their family no longer had Thanksgiving dinner. They now have Thanksgiving lunch so they can still participate in Black Friday.
The interesting thing about advertising surrounding Christmas is not simply how ridiculous it is, it is how amazingly effective this advertising is. Even though it isn’t even Halloween yet, people were still buying Christmas sweaters and candy canes. The advertising of this lifestyle may have began with Dickens, but today’s advertising of Christmas has taken things to an all new level. Next thing you know, Christmas shopping will be year round, and I wonder how Dickens would be involved in this advertising today.