I note a few points about the events. Bah-humbug while I'm at it.
1) Best part of Christmas holiday season: people watching. There is little clear species delineation going on visible from observing who goes where and when. Though I suppose there's still a visible contempt that can be gained from observing a Wal-Mart for a few hours (in particular if they're going to be playing a marathon of country music versions of Christmas "music"). Still, it's not every day that random strangers will help somebody loading something large and unwieldy into a truck or back of a minivan (and yes, I was a "random stranger" loading something. I think this is amusing).
2) Worst part: The muzak. Even the fact that it involves shopping and parking seems trivial by comparison. The constant supply of podcasts and random shuffles of a large music collection mean that I never have to hear Christmas music unless by choice. This means of course that "by choice" is somewhere between never and almost never and it almost has to be something classical (possibly jazz-related is acceptable, but only older jazz related and there again I'd rather hear Louis Armstrong and Nat Cole singing about something else or at best something only tangentially related to Christmas). This is not what is playing at shopping venues, etc. I am not sure it can be reliably referred to as musical.
I would be hard pressed to identify another major Western holiday which has its own music. Maybe the Super Bowl in its way (by having a halftime show) and there's a few popular New Year's songs but they often tie into Christmas anyway. I think this is a rather large marketing "problem" with Christmas in other words. If it had music associated with it which was worth hearing, it would be played at any time throughout the year. Instead it becomes an excuse to capitalize on sentiments and produce crap because it will be force fed for a month or two. I could not imagine going through Halloween for a month ahead of time (as we already do with legions of decorations and candy sales) while listening to a month of bad music. Why do we put up with this for Christmas?
3) Shopping needs to be more or less an outsource-able task (that is: real shopping involving wandering around brick and mortar physical buildings. It takes seconds to find things using the magic of Google/Amazon, etc). The fact that it pertains to getting some token of respect as a gift is one feature that cannot be easily sold off to some functionary performance, which is in its favor. The fact that this token is usually some tangible material object is rather silly however once you come down to it. It's basically a religious feast holiday. I don't mind the food and event planning or the days off that are granted (regardless of religious affiliation, I know of few people who will complain if given days off with no other justification required). I don't mind asking for stuff if I were in need (or a child, who is basically "in need"). I don't mind seeking stuff out if people ask for it (and give me some reliable clues as to what sorts of stuff they have want/need of, since it is virtually a given that I will not know someone well enough to deduce this for myself). But is stuff really that important to fashion an entire month (plus) holiday season around it?
A simple parable of crowding out
3 hours ago