Christmas in July: An Economic Program

UnknownIt’s fashionable to decry the commercialism and materialism of Christmas. And I recently reviewed Naomi Klein’s book saying we must cut back our consumer society, preaching asceticism as virtue. The problem is, if A doesn’t buy what B is employed to produce, B loses his job, and can’t buy what A is employed to produce, so A loses his job too. Pretty soon nobody has jobs. A fine virtuous society we’d have then.

 

imagesI thought about this, passing by a mall thronged with Christmas shoppers. Indeed, imagine where our economy would be without that. A whole lot of people are employed producing and selling all the stuff that’s gifted; absent Xmas, they’d be out of work. Sneer as you will at the crass commercialism, but without it our economy would be in deep doo-doo. If Christmas didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it (like FDR invented the WPA).

Unknown-1This got me thinking that if Christmas is such an economic boon, why not have two Christmases? We can invent a second one. Of course, they’d have to be spaced well apart, so by the time the next one rolls around folks can have recovered financially from the prior one. About mid-year would be ideal. And in fact, what luck, we wouldn’t have to create a new holiday from scratch – we can simply re-tool an old one – July 4.

So all we need do is make Independence Day into a gifting occasion. We can give it many Xmas-like accoutrements. For example, instead of Christmas trees, people can put up Liberty poles, and decorate them with little continental soldiers, drummer boys, flags, etc. images-3In place of crèches, we can have dioramas of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Instead of carols we can sing Yankee Doodle and other stirring patriotic songs. Houses would be festooned with red, white, and blue lights. TV would endlessly re-broadcast “1776” rather than “It’s a Wonderful Life” and mawkish Peanuts cartoons. In the role of the Grinch, you’ve got your King George III. And sending another round of greeting cards would help keep the struggling Postal Service in business. Fireworks would be an added bonus for which I can’t think of a Christmas analog.

images-4Of course, to promote the all-important gifting element, we’d need a Santa-equivalent. For this I’d propose Jefferson. We can overlook that he had slaves rather than elves (I’m not sure there’s much difference, actually). He’d keep a list of which children are naughty or nice – that is, patriots versus tory sympathizers. Happily, few of the latter will be found nowadays. And, to deliver the presents, perhaps he could borrow Santa’s sleigh and reindeer; as Santa’s summer replacement, so to speak.

images-1Christmas originated to celebrate the birth of Christ. July 4 celebrates the birth of our country. At least we can be sure that really happened. Thus this would be a holiday for everyone (with no nonsense about a “War on July 4;” though we’d probably get some griping about its commercialization).

So to help our economy by turning The Fourth into another gift-giving festival, images-5please spread the word, by reblogging this, or re-tweeting it, or snapchatting or instagramming it, or whatever people do nowadays who are more tech-savvy than me. If this goes viral, the economic benefits could be huge.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all my blog readers!

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8 Responses to “Christmas in July: An Economic Program”

  1. Wolfgang Kurth Says:

    …and happy hollidays to you and yours as well, my friend!
    Only thing is, I find all this gift-giving is enough of a “P. I. the A.” once in the year as it is, and probably would forgo the idea of a second holiday to get frazzled over.
    Wolf

  2. rationaloptimist Says:

    Wolf=Grinch

  3. Douglas Hawes Says:

    To satisfy your need for something to celebrate I’ll volunteer. My birthday is July 3rd. You all can send me lots of presents to perk up the economy. I’ll even play God if you wish. In all seriousness we are already in deep doo doo when we have to depend on a Holiday to pick up the economy. Maybe it is time to start learning how to live in one that is not going to expand much more.

  4. rationaloptimist Says:

    In a world where a billion or so people still live on less than a dollar a day, I would not be so quick to welcome an end to, or reversal of, economic growth.

  5. erobinson100 Says:

    Two somewhat related articles:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/opinion/sunday/arthur-c-brooks-abundance-without-attachment.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/upshot/an-economist-goes-christmas-shopping.html?ref=opinion&abt=0002&abg=0

  6. rationaloptimist Says:

    Thanks, erobinson, for some highly relevant links. Re the first, while material things certainly can enhance quality of life, they are tools to enable us to enjoy the non-material things that are indeed the more important. It is hard to savor the beauty of a sunset while you are suffering want (or at least harder). Re the second, this makes a very good point; I am very much hoping that a certain someone does not give us ANOTHER round of flashlights this Xmas!

  7. Bumba Says:

    Happy Holidays. Some astute business ideas there. How about a holiday for Mothers, or Dads, or Secretaries? An economy built on a house of Christmas cards…er ecards?

  8. beli tanah di padalarang Says:

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