Embracing my inner Grinch


I’ll be the first to tell anyone that I can be a bit “grinchey” over the holidays.  It’s nothing really; recalcitrance.   At the same time, I get all misty-eyed when either a Charlie Brown Christmas comes on TV or, as was the case the other night, A Miracle of 34th Street, the 1947 version with Edmund Gwenn.

Something’s make us look past the joy of the holidays and focus on what’s wrong or becoming wrong with the day.  Watching the movie the other night I heard something that sort of sharpened my attention.

Yeah, there’s a lot of bad ‘isms’ floatin’ around this world, but one of the worst is commercialism. Make a buck, make a buck. Even in Brooklyn it’s the same – don’t care what Christmas stands for, just make a buck, make a buck. – Alfred, Macy janitor

It cracked me up to hear it-how he put it and everything-but in fact, Alfred hit it right on the head.  And today’s Christmas version is kind of insidious; the way it plays on our inner emotions of giving back to the ones we love.  We know how holiday advertising can make some of us feel; forlorn, lonely, desperate and very poor.  But knowing that doesn’t stop the commercial juggernaut.  No sir; you buy, you buy!

One spot really irritates me because it’s aimed right at a segment of society that’s struggling as is; they don’t need any added stress.  I’m talking about the Snuggies conmmercial.  It’s aimed at the hearts of grandparents, seniors in most cases; and that’s just wrong.

Before the ACA and additional prescription coverage that Medicare Supplementary programs provide, many seniors were forced to do without their high-priced meds simply in order to survive.  I can dig it; when it comes down to either food or a pill, well food may win out.

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), over 23 million seniors aged 60 and older are living at or below 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) or $29,425 per year for a single person.  And even for those above the FPL, they’re only a major adverse life event away from disaster.  Some other thoughts on senior income maybe they should’ve considered:

  • Social Security provided 90% of the income for 40.6 percent of senior beneficiaries in 2008, and for 26 percent of those seniors, it was their only The average monthly stipend for a single elderly retiree was $1,153 and $1, 877 for couples.
  • More than 27% of seniors living in poverty went hungry in 2011.
  • Also at year’s end 2011, 16% of senior homeowners owed more on their house than it was worth.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if only for one Christmas, if there was no commercial advertising on TV?  How grand would it be if they’d just leave the buying impetus solely up to the public and instead of commercials slyly intimating your wife wants a Lexus for Christmas, the car dealer simply says, “Merry Christmas from your friends at so-and-so Lexus”!

I don’t know; maybe this is too much inner Grinch?  Perhaps I’m embracing the big green dude a tad too enthusiastically, you think?  I’m just saying it’d be nice if the powers consider that many don’t have much on any given day of the year, let alone the Christmas holidays and they don’t need to drive home that fact.  Or, is this something that most companies know already from their bean counters and just don’t care?  Ho-Ho-Ho…

Photo – “The Grinch (That Stole Christmas)” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.


Filed under Commentary, Culture, Holidays

2 responses to “Embracing my inner Grinch

  1. Kill your television! And Happy Holidays!

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