The retail industry treats Christmas as one big countdown. This year has been the worst yet: Black Friday seems to have lasted the entire month of November.
But right after Thanksgiving the real fun began: “Only 29 more shopping days until Christmas.”
I think it’s because as a nation, we love to be nagged. The phone company reminds us to call home on Mother’s Day. Florists fuss at you to buy flowers for Secretary’s Day. Jewelers warn men to buy bigger and better diamonds for each year’s anniversary.
Nagging works, too: The phone system is overwhelmed on the second Sunday in May. Administrative assistants smile as they load up the vases (even if they’re inwardly wishing they’d gotten gift cards, or raises). And wives all over America decide to hang in there for another year because the big lug actually remembered.
But this is not a cynical post about the commercialization of sentiment. Not this time, anyway. It’s about why “(however many) more days until Christmas” is too vague to be of any use.
That’s because it’s not a warning — it’s a snooze alarm.