Christmas markets have become a novelty and in small towns the big department store monster has not only gobbled up the little Christmas markets that used to thrive in the small towns but they have also put the small town shopping mall out of business and that is where the shame really comes in. Super big mega department stores don’t have a Santa Claus for kids to visit and they barely have any Christmas decorations up for people to enjoy. All they want you to do is buy. They want you to enter their glowing white warehouse with shelves and buy stuff that you need for the season. They put a kindly old greeter at the door who might be wearing a Santa hat to say hello to you and just fill you with Christmas cheer but it falls woefully short of the way things used to be. I feel so sorry for kids born today in small town America because they will never know what it was like to have a real Christmas like we had 20 or 30 years ago before the department store Grinch came and stole Christmas from everyone.
Let me tell you what it was like back when Christmas mattered and back when American small towns were not in danger of getting swallowed up by corporate America. Every weekend morning, usually Saturday, in December you would wake up and your Mom would already be in the kitchen making Christmas cookies or whatever treat she made at Christmas time and she always had the local AM radio station on that was already playing Christmas music all day and night long. Inevitably there was always one novelty song that your Mom just had to hear one more time before she got ready to go and after the dogs were done barking Jingle Bells she went off to get ready to go. If it was early in the month then your first Saturday was spent looking for a tree. You and your family would get into the 1973 station wagon and head out to find that perfect Christmas tree. You would spend an hour wandering in the light snow fall looking for that perfect tree. When you found it you got it home and let it sit in the stand all night before you could trim it Sunday afternoon. The next few Saturdays were spent cruising the Christmas markets buying gifts, taking in the Christmas spirit with the decorations you could see and the music you could hear, and then the first shopping day usually ended with a trip to the mall to talk to Santa himself.
None of that exists anymore. Now you have to buy your tree at the super mega store because the local nursery is out of business. You buy your gifts at the same super mega store and they don’t even play Christmas music because they are afraid of offending other shoppers. Sometimes the passage of time can destroy some beautiful things that we can never reclaim.