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What Holiday Commercials Have Taught Me

Updated on November 7, 2013

The countdown begins

It's October 31st, the clock is ticking past midnight and onward into November. The floodgates open for countless advertisements of Blue tag, Black tag, skin tag sales. More sales occur in November than any other time of year. More deaths occur in December, and more children are conceived this season. The setting is ripe for buying cheap, giving in abundance, and sacrificing the unmentionable things for our loved ones.

Well this year I am saving as much as I can, and giving to so many people. This gift, from me to you, is an analytical look at our seasonal sacrifice. Why not? 'Tis the season to show our love, or die trying.

Ghosts of Black Fridays past

Some consumers are injured, killed, or otherwise at a loss after Black Friday havoc.
Some consumers are injured, killed, or otherwise at a loss after Black Friday havoc.

The meaning of Christmas

During November and December when bonuses are flying, raises are requested, and new toy ads are erupting, so are home burglaries. A number of preventative services are advertised more frequently, like ADT and other home surveillance, all have suggestions to protect yourself; including concealing expensive packaging from trashcans and avoiding advertising Holiday vacations to the world. As we are alerted to these risks, we do what we can to avoid being robbed. On the flip side, people are still committing robberies.

These thefts don't only occur at private homes, and include the higher-end commercial storefronts with electronics or toys. While people would love to think that we're in a Christmas movie where a kind-hearted person commits petty theft to a department store only to gift it to a homeless bird lady in the park, this is certainly a rare case. Even though it is less common, those stealing are causing two things this season. They increase the risk that the average consumer faces when purchasing something (online or in person), and they profit off of these thefts, being able to buy their loved one the biggest crack rock she's ever seen. We're all taking risks this season, whether it be robbery or incarceration, for the ones we love.

What chances have I taken for the Holidays?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
And I thought a puppy would actually enjoy this hat.I thought that icing sugar cookies for the family would come out beautiful!I thought an undercut for the Holidays would be swell!
And I thought a puppy would actually enjoy this hat.
And I thought a puppy would actually enjoy this hat.
I thought that icing sugar cookies for the family would come out beautiful!
I thought that icing sugar cookies for the family would come out beautiful!
I thought an undercut for the Holidays would be swell!
I thought an undercut for the Holidays would be swell!

Risk Assessment

What kind of chances do you take during the Holidays?

See results

Let's take a tally of your risky behavior

Commercials fill us with desire, be it petty or otherwise. This desire grows into a request for certain items, and the people who love us are conditioned to give into coy smiles and 'please's to grant our Holiday wishes. Even if John's wife isn't robbed of the new ring he bought from JARED, he has had to face the music of going to JARED.

The commercials run through his head as he trudges through the doors. They welcome him, he purchases the perfect ring. At Christmas dinner, it happens: “Oh, I love your new ring, Deborah!” The hush sets in as the eyes land on the shiny bastard, “He... He went to JARED.” Even Deb can't help but laugh at the commercialized sentiment attached to this parcel. We all sacrifice something with each gift, be it money, security from theft, or dignity.

Black and Blackest

Perhaps the hairier gender has it easier when it comes to choosing gifts. Sometimes they only have to ask what someone wants, and buy it. Even with a wife or girlfriend, it can be as easy as new jewelry or makeup to get an A+. In multiple magazines for women, like Real Simple, Ladies Home Journal, and Southern Living, there are tips for the hottest new toys. This suggests that women do most of the toy shopping. To corroborate my theory, I recently watched an episode of Extreme Couponing where the women were spearheading their Black Friday and Blackest Thursday Ventures.

Black Friday is certainly the biggest topic of discussion during this season. Kmart, Belk, and Toys “R” Us are opening 5AM Thanksgiving Day, turning Black Friday into Too Late Friday. The point of these sales, being as early a they are, is to be the first people to get the best deals. Petitions and boycotts are being put in place since the announcement of over seven stores opening on Thanksgiving Day as early as 5 AM.

On the flip side of this inflated coin are those shopping on Thanksgiving at 5AM. Tapping their toes at the front door are women (and men) like the Crazy Target Lady of 2010. Flipping through the pages of a Target catalog, she screams, bellows, howls in a crazed frenzy. She is in literal SHOCK at all of the deals. These women suffer from hysterical neurosis. These women are at every Target, whispering to themselves about their Precious sales.

Other shoppers are like the Pier 1 commercial customers: they browse so casually, subtly perusing the items until they experience yet another schizophrenic episode. Those penguins aren't talking to you, Suzie. And those party glasses are only a potential weapon for you to your yourself and others, Amanda. Commercials like these are all a great example as to how crazy these companies expect us to be, and perhaps we are.

Feeling the lasting impression

He was at JARED, alright. And JARED was nice enough to leave him with a little pain in the back.
He was at JARED, alright. And JARED was nice enough to leave him with a little pain in the back.

Check this list twice

Risk Level
Gift Ideas
Skipping the sales and getting up early to have coffee
Hand-making each and every gift months in advance
Skipping store sales and shopping online
Guessing just what everyone wants via hints throughout the year
Taking a chance at the Black Friday sales
The gift of letting your loved ones join you at the door-buster sales
Don't do it
Jamming elbows on Blackest Thursday sales
The gift of a crack rock or, similarly addictive, smart phone for your toddlers

The circle of life

Could these companies commercials and sales be a looking glass into our own psyche? Maybe you don't consider yourself among any of the above issues or risks. Maybe you're a loner, who enjoys spending the Holidays alone beneath a throw blanket with your nose nestled on the brim of a steaming cup of coco. Are you reading a good book, or watching something? There are multiple things to watch, of course, this Holiday season. Have you seen Hunger Games: Catching Fire, or The Hobbit 2, or The Book Thief, or Frozen (The heart-warming, meta, kid's movie about a frigid city in need of thawing out)?

I'm sure we'd all love to see these movies, they're perfect for the season. More than ten dollars for a movie ticket is a bit extreme. Perhaps you know a guy who knows a guy who can just email you a really nice copy of the movie a few days after the theatrical release. It's just one movie, and you love yourself, so you deserve to take a small risk and watch this bootleg.

And so the cycle begins.

Do, be Jolly

We love people, and we will sacrifice things to give them what they want. The risks aren't as apparent as the tremendous glow of their eyes as they unwrap the shiny new toy, be it a Hug Me Elmo, a Versace fragrance, or big ol' bag of bud. We've been doing it for such a long time, there couldn't be more to it than generosity and altruism-- We risk the sacrifice of our own well-being for those we love. Fa La La La La.


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