Year in and year out, one of the few complaints people make against Christmastime is how commercial it’s become, and how the original point has been lost on us. Everyone says it as if they’re the first to have thought of it. This year, it’s sort of the opposite — most of the fretting in the media has been that Christmas isn’t commercial enough, and that the economy will be ruined (ruined!) because people are so selfish that they’d pay down their own debts, rather than buy a digital picture frame for their cousin.
But given all the bad news out there these days, we think it’s a bad idea to waste Christmas by finding things to complain about. We can do that the other 364 days of the year. Even the extra-long Christmas shopping season, from Black Friday to December 26th, replete with chintzy decorations and saccharine music isn’t something to fret about. Just the opposite argues Jeffrey A. Tucker at the Mises institute:
Another criticism against commerce is that it has dissed Christmas by commercializing it. The critics don’t seem to realise that this is actually the opposite of a war. Commerce is bombing us with x-treme Christmas starting the day after Halloween! So are the shock troops fighting back against the “war on Christmas” congratulating capitalism for this? Not at all! They attack commerce for its greed. No matter what the merchants do, they are in big trouble with the kvetchers.
What we need to realise is that capitalism is responsive—to an extent greater than any other institution—to the values of the public. Americans love Christmas in every way. We love giving and receiving gifts. We love the music. We love the sense of contentment and happiness and the family time that comes with it. We love the office parties, the elves, Santa, the reindeer, and all the images of Mary and Joseph and the babe in the manger. It is a common wish on film and in popular culture that Christmas should last all year long.
This is precisely what the commercial marketplace is fulfilling. This isn’t an imposition, a desire to loot people as much as possible for as long as possible. On the contrary, all this hysteria reflects the effort to give people what they want—and that happens to be a long-lasting Christmas.