There is something different about this Christmas. You may have noticed it, too.
Yes, there are more people shopping than ever. Even retail dinosaurs like Macy’s are getting a boost. People have more money. There are more jobs. They feel good about the future. Consumer sentiment has hit highs not seen in years.
This Christmas I’ve noticed a lot more lights and decorations in homes around town. It’s not just in Memphis; Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs commented that he sees more in his neighborhood, too. When President Trump insisted it would be back to Americans saying “Merry Christmas!” he wasn’t kidding. The spirit has returned.
Although the Hallmark Channel has received a boatload of criticisms from elitist sites like Salon, it has been attracting 70 million viewers. That’s one of the largest audiences on cable. Salon headlined “A super white Christmas: The Hallmark Channel gives us TV’s most homogeneous view of the holiday.” The site bemoaned “Sugar-spun traits of ‘real’ America dominate Hallmark’s movie plots through the year, in fact. Plots typically involve characters from or living in the mythological small towns of ‘real’ America, melting the hard hearts of big-city folks or bah humbug grinches with their honest optimism and pure, decent values.”
Hollywood in all its grinchness has’t fared so well either. Drudge has headlined their slumping sales. The LA Times reports “Even with ‘Star Wars’ surge, movie-going could hit 22-year low. Blame bad sequels, rising ticket prices and streaming.”
Maybe it’s content? Who wants to go see a movie and get a good scolding from Meryl Streep or Tom Hanks? Who wants to see their country’s institutions continually cut down? Not me and evidently not a lot of other Americans.
On our tables I am noticing that many more stores are promoting beef prime rib roasts for Christmas. Usually there are lots of ads for turkeys along with ham in the store sales. Turkey pops up in more economically challenged times. Not this year. The bird faded after Thanksgiving. People are willing and able to try something more upscale for Christmas dinner.
It will be interesting to see if church attendance is up this year. At my parish, the Christmas Eve vigil was full.
Companies like Comcast and FedEx are giving out $1,000 bonuses this year. Not that you’d read much about that in the newspapers, but corporations are doing well enough – and even see great profits in the future – to want to keep employees happy.
The grinches are in retreat this year. America is getting great again.
They can’t stand it.