Marketing That Advent Family Feeling?

Regular readers will remember this one, somewhat adapted, from last year....

"Of the channels through which we can choose to send our messages, the visual is the strongest. This is partly because the parts of the brain which handle visual impressions are larger than those dealing with, for example, hearing; but it is also because we can attend to several visual messages simultaneously..... When word and image are used in combination, the resulting image is even richer and more powerful."

("See What I Mean", John Morgan and Peter Welton.)

Can you remember the Christmas Images of years gone by? They were of a loving family. He wasn't the "Real" Dad, so they say, but he had appointed himself the Protector of his Wife and Child. The Christmas Images of yesteryear were about Responsibility, Family, Love, and making do with what we had. The words that went with those images strengthened the idea that we are loved, there is someone looking out for us, and that we are expected to behave IN THIS WAY: Responsible, Loving, and Content with simple comforts. You never hear about Mary needing new curtains. The words Child, Mother, Father, Holy, Love, were burned into our young minds as good words. They went with chocolate and bulging stockings. They went with the gorgeous music of the season, awesome and celestial.

So what do we have now? I was hard-pressed to find Christmas Cards with images of the Holy Family, and so far I haven't been able to buy a Nativity Crèche. Everywhere I look there is Santa and Rudolph. Apparently, we are not allowed to wish anyone (or their children) "A Holy And Blessed Christmas" at school or in stores, and the iconic images of the Holy Family, and the very IDEA that Family Responsibility can be considered Holy, has been deemed politically incorrect. We have been told that some people may find Christmas Blessings offensive. How strange. And what has it been replaced with?

"Happy Holidays". And pictures of masses of food, way too many things, a reindeer with a shiny nose, and the idea that in order to GET this Happiness that you are very clearly ENTITLED TO, you have to have a whole lot of stuff. The kids, in particular, MUST have the stuff or they will be devastated. Circle what you want in the catalogue, kids. We have Jolly, Happy, Toys, Turkey, Fashion, Santa Claus, Weight Gain, Hangover, Broken, Plastic, Speedy Delivery, More! Better! Sooner! Cheaper! Now! Stress! Pepto Bismol!

I find those images of excess much more offensive. I would much rather someone assumed I worshipped a guy named Jesus who had a great family and taught about love, than that I felt entitled to a Happy Holidays. And you can keep your Jolly crap away from my kids, too. But go right ahead and tell them all about Jesus. I can deal with that. (Oh, at Divali, tell them about peace and light of Mother Laxmi, too. However you're selling love, I'm buying.)

Whether we are devoutly Christian or not, it should make us sad to lose our annual Christmas Nativity Lesson. How on earth could anyone be offended by an image of a family? How on Earth has this image become something offensive? The non-Christians I know are perfectly okay with it, just as I am perfectly okay with their wishes for Divali Blessings for me, or Eid Blessings, or Hannukah Blessings, or whatever. Someone wants to tell me that they wish their special Blessings upon me and my family? I am touched.

Could it be that the Holy Family just isn't an earner for Big Business? If so, then it is time for us, the consumers, to make a statement. To channel our money differently. This year, throw away the Jolly Holly Greetings. Claim back Christmas. We really need it.


Islandgirl said…
I agree 100%!!!! Just brought a christmas broach for my 'angel and earthling' game at school this year of the holy family for my earthling. Family is what christmas is about. Remember that good old christmas story of the boy who sold his precious watch to buy a turtle shell comb for his girlfriend while the girl cut off her lovely locks to buy the watch chain for him? Love and sacrifice and giving of your heart. That is what it is all about. Lets go back to a christmas that MEANS something.
How different to be in Italy for the Christmas season. Kids are included, listened to and prized- people scoop them up and hug them regularly. Pregnant women can go to the head of the (even long) grocery line. Holy Family- no problem- it's what it's all about. Blessed Christmas- of course. Love- you bet.
Dear Baby Jesus/Santa/Obama * (*delete as appropriate),I would like to have the same thing I asked for the last couple of years. Just in case you lost my letters, this year I would really like to have peace,love and happiness throughout the world.
Regardless of what my kids ask for, all I want for them is a happy healthy future filled with great friends and fun memories.
I wish the same for my friends and their families too.
Money can only buy temporary happiness and twinkly lights and dancing Santas might make us feel a bit merry, but these things can never replace the joy that we get from sharing hugs and smiles and spending time together with our loved ones.
So Santa or whoever is out there, if for some reason you can't get my present to me,maybe you could always send it to my kids sometime?
Love Always,

PS: In case you think I'm asking too much,I'll happily settle for a Volvo XC70 SUV with all the options.
Thanks Again,
S said…
I hate to be glib but, AMEN.
Unknown said…
Christmas in it's very essence is a Christian holiday. I hate when people try to take Jesus out of it. I always put a picture of the nativity on our card. I have friends that are Jewish. And I hope they send me whatever card they most love. To each his own : )

Really great post! I loved it!
Unknown said…
So I guess a "Happy Saturnalia" is probably a bit gauche, yes?

All kidding aside, I hear you. And agree. Somehow the origins of Christmas, and its meaning, have gotten lost in the Profit Motive. But some of us remember. Some of us still hold Christmas dear, in our hearts, for what it once meant - when we were kids.
Ndinombethe said…
Absolutely right! Merry Christmas, Eid Mubarak, and Shubh Divali while were at it...
Islandgirl said…
and don't forget Halloween Tash! :-)
Anonymous said…
Your post ROCKS. I'm linking up to it tomorrow. Wise words and ones I agree with wholeheartedly. Merry Christmas indeed.