Ugh! I have to admit I am frustrated. The last two days I have been scouting malls around the world... from Dubai to London to Los Angeles. And while I found some great new locations that I will add to my normal schedule, I also grew more and more frustrated at how virtually every retail outlet is already decorated for Christmas. Can they not wait for at least mid-November?!
Please do not misunderstand... I am very glad that folks are excited about Christmas and that they want to celebrate it. I also appreciate the fact that the Christmas season is "make or break" for most retailers across Europe and North America. In fact, most of them lose money all year and make a enough during the Christmas period that they are profitable for the full year. Think about that for a moment... it is staggering. I do appreciate that. If it were not for that fact, I would call for a boycott of any retailer displaying Christmas decorations or advertising prior to November 20th. But we all need the retailers to be profitable. A bad Christmas season at retail and our global economic recovery may see a major set-back. That would not be good for anyone.
All of that said though.... the earlier we see Christmas decorations up each year, the more commercialized Christmas becomes. And the more commercialized, the greater the tendency is for us to forget the true reason for Christmas. So I am going to ask you to battle the commercialization of Christmas - not by boycotting retailers (please don't) but by making a point to spread the true Christmas spirit. You can do that by taking the time to:
- Read the Christmas story yourself. Don't wait until Christmas Eve, read it now.
- Make a point of sharing the Christmas story with at least one child.
- Tell someone you love exactly that... make a point of saying "I love you" everyday through Christmas.
- Buy mistletoe, hang it up, and use it.
- Donate to a charity of your choice. The amount doesn't matter... just give something. In many countries, your donations are tax deductible.
- Make dinner for someone you know that is unemployed.
- Commit to one random act of kindness each day.
- Play like me for one day. Be a "secret Santa" and leave a gift for a neighbor or co-worker.
- Take time to reflect on your blessings and give Thanks no matter how big or small those blessings are.
Do these things and I promise, you'll have the best Christmas ever. And you will likely make someone else's the best ever as well.