In addition to being a List Lover, I’m also an optimist. Annoyingly so, I imagine, for most people. Bad day at work? At least I have a job. Crying baby on a plane ride…all the way across the country? At least the guy next to me didn’t need to use the little white bag shoved in the seat pocket in front of him. Bad break up? Those sure do make for good stories later on… Broken arm? At least I don’t have gangrene.
I partially blame this optimism on my father. I was raised by a man whose Go-To question in any crisis was, “Did anyone die?” So far, the answer has always been “no.” His reply? “If this is the worst thing that ever happens to you, you’re in good shape.” Thanks, dad.
So, in honor of my optimistic spirit and the holiday season, I would like to argue that while Americans can certainly seem overbearing with regards to Christmas preparations, seeing as how they seem to start before Halloween, we’re really not quite as bad as we appear. Here’s why:
1. Focus: In an age where we are constantly bombarded with information in the form of status updates, tweets (limited to 140 characters…sheesh!), and Outlook reminders, it’s clear why we have such short attention spans. The simple fact that we can sustain interest in something for more than two minutes, much less three months or longer, says volumes about our character as a population.
2. Heart: If you’ve seen those Target commercials with the lovely blond in a red jumpsuit steadfastly preparing for her shopping trek, you have a glimpse into the dedication and determination we have when it comes to Christmas shopping. Anyone who is willing to brave the Christmas crowds donned in sneakers and work out gear simply to allow for quick steps and freer movement (picture 16 bulging shopping bags that need carrying to the car) is a person with heart…not to mention all the good cardio opportunities shopping and standing in line offer.
3. Martyrdom: While our country may be in the red, it’s refreshing to see people willing to camp out on sidewalks in order to be one of the lucky few who get the best gifts at the best deals. This shows a willingness to suffer for the ones we love. I mean, really, unless you’re at a Gator tailgate where the nearest air conditioned bathroom is in a fraternity house down the street, why on earth would anyone voluntarily camp out to the extreme of having to use a portapotti?…which brings me to the next item on our list…
4. Efficiency: Economic efficiency, that is. It only makes sense to applaud those who scour the papers and television commercials in search of opportunities to save money. In today’s society, isn’t it important to save a few bucks where we can? The answer is yes. Here’s why…
5. Generosity: The more we save, the more we are able to give. Buy One-Get One pajamas? Score! Two gifts for my sisters done with money leftover for a Starbucks for me and a pastry for that guy on the street corner who’d probably rather have a beer.
6. The American Dream: The fact that we start shopping for Christmas before Trick or Treaters have even begun to beat on our doors demonstrates one of the primary qualities of what our country is founded on: Overachievement. While it can be argued there are many Americans who lack this drive, those individuals who begin the adventure of filling the space in the guest bedroom closet, and ultimately, under the tree, before pumpkins have been carved and turkeys have been stuffed are clearly go-getters. People have dreams. A house with a white picket fence. A new bicycle. A nice guy with a job, a car, and a sense of humor. Big dreams. Those people out and about early on in fall are people who make those dreams happen. And because of that, those people help make this country great.
So, while many criticize the inching up of Christmas toward summer and those individuals who take part in the pushing forward (or backward, as it may be), I applaud it and them…particularly because I have lived vicariously through them this fall. My guest bedroom closet? Filled with rain boots, suitcases, and boxes of grad school essays. *Sigh*
**Photos courtesy of guardian.co.uk, balancelifeskills.com, savagechickens.com, nj.com, socialmediaobservatory.com, and masstransmit.com.