Swept clear of candy and costumes, retail shelving beckons for sparkly ornaments and plastic reindeer. The lights of the Spirit Halloween signs, once a welcome illumination to previously vacant storefronts, have now faded as the strip mall returns to its usual dusty state.
It may seem that spooky season is over, but it’s merely a phase in a long winter that stretches from Independence Day to New Year’s Day. The holidays linger, almost without form, and yet we can reliably predict when each wave of seasonal products will crash onto those shelves. Each obliterates the last, like the surf chopping away at a lovingly built sandcastle. But what it’s actually destroying is our will to resist.
Spiritual restoration and community connection be damned: this is the season of capitalism.
It’s the Most … Expensive Time of the Year
It’s no wonder that we’re all feeling the holiday fatigue before we even get to Thanksgiving. The holiday season is famously stressful, and it seems to never end. Furthermore, it disrespects the traditional dates. Christmas starts in July and continues to intensify. Much like the season’s anthem, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” it starts soft and cute, then seizes your scarf and pulls you into jingle-bell madness.
We all feel the need to consume. Perhaps it’s the allure of seasonal favorites such as pumpkin spice and eggnog. Better get it while it lasts, right? We want to participate in those fun fall vibes, and that means purchasing the items that make it possible.
In our overworked, exhausted state amidst the lingering specter of COVID, we feel that urge even more strongly. Does anyone really have time to carve pumpkins or go on hay rides? We definitely don’t want to bob for apples. So we rely on pre-fabricated decor to get into the spirit. We buy plastic Jack-o-lanterns. With gritted teeth, we accept yet another price increase for Disney+ so we can watch Hocus Pocus and Nightmare Before Christmas.
Capitalism sells us convention disguised as convenience. At first glance, it seems like a luxury for the lazy: those who don’t care about their kids’…