Archive for November 2008

Elf Yourself for Christmas!

November 30, 2008

Here’s a fun website, just in time for Christmas…Elf Yourself!

Not since Will Ferrell has so much fun been associated with an elf.  Upload your picture and…voila!  Just like that, you’re a dancing elf.

Use it to make a Christmas e-card and send it to your friends, your family…and if the boss doesn’t catch you, your co-workers.  You can even record an audible greeting in your own voice to go along with your card.

 

Listen Free Online to Adventures in Odyssey

November 30, 2008

When my girls were young, they could listen to the radio stories of Adventures in Odyssey for hours at a time it seemed.  We had to buy the tapes of course, but you can have your children listen for free right from your computer at WhitsEnd.org (click the “How to Listen Online” button for instructions).

podcast_podcastlogo[1] Adventures in Odyssey, produced by Focus on the Family, is like watching TV…only without the pictures.  Actually, you make your own pictures using your mind’s eye as you listen to the stories.  So let your kids exercise their imaginations for a change and tune in for a real treat.

Send Your Kids to the North Pole!

November 29, 2008

Here’s just one of hundreds of fun sites for Christmas…

Let your children explore their “kids” section to play interactive games in the Elf Clubhouse, write a letter to Santa, print stories and color the pages, visit the Reindeer Barn, the Mailroom, Santa’s Den, and much more.  They can even chat with an elf: Bif or Bonnie.

There are special sections for Parents and Teachers to explain the educational and motivational aspects of the site (like the Good Deed behavioral incentive calendar; learning letters, numbers and vocabulary, etc.).

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008

Where’s Christmas? wishes you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Black Friday Runs Red for Grinches

November 27, 2008

clip_image002Black Friday is the name used to refer to the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, and is generally regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.  Since Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November, Black Friday may occur as early as the 23rd and as late as the 30th of November.  The term appears to have come into common usage sometime in the 1960’s, but its origins are more difficult to nail down.  Though it was likely a creation of the media, the retail industry is also a beneficiary of the concept.

clip_image002[11]Although it is commonly understood as the busiest shopping day of the year, apparently sales data reflect that Black Friday is more often than not a little lower than a handful of December shopping days.  Nevertheless, Black Friday is the retail industy’s equivalent to the starting gun in track and field, as shoppers suddenly race to malls across the country flooding retail stores in search of Christmas gifts, decorations, and accessories.  Black Friday is not an official holiday, but most non-retail businesses give their employees the day off, which increases the typical number of Friday shoppers.

The explanation for the name varies from its reference to an accounting term, to the more ominous view that merchants are suddenly so inundated with shoppers that it is viewed as a dark day by retail employees.  While the latter may be true, the former seems a more apt explanation since in the olden days accountants would write the daily balance of accounts in black ink if it was a positive balance, or use red ink if it was a negative balance (a practice continued today in software programs like Excel, etc.).

The one sure thing is that the shopping days from Thanksgiving to just after Christmas are the most important for the retail industry, as slow Christmas sales can sink a merchant.  Many sustain losses all year long until Christmas sales take them “out of the red” and back “into the black”.

Evidence of this vital relationship between Christmas and the retail industry is documented at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum article “The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings”.  In 1939, towards the end of The Great Depression, November had 5 Thursdays, so the last Thursday of November was going to fall on the 30th.  Retailers complained to FDR that this only left 24 shopping days to Christmas and begged him to push Thanksgiving up one week earlier on the calendar.  Data then, as now, showed that most people waited to do their Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving and retailers hoped their sales would increase with an extra week of shopping.

The letter from the Downtown Association of Los Angeles represents the view of many large merchants across the country, versus the letter from Arnold’s Men’s Shop which argued for the benefits to smaller merchants of a shorter Christmas shopping season:

The small storekeeper would prefer leaving Thanksgiving Day where it belongs.  If the large department stores are over-crowded during the shorter shopping period before Christmas, the overflow will come, naturally, to the neighborhood store.

We have waited many years for a late Thanksgiving to give us an advantage over the large stores, and we are sadly disappointed at your action, in this matter.

In an effort to boost the economy during the “Roosevelt Recession”, FDR announced in his Thanksgiving Proclamations, both in 1939 and 1940, declaring the date of Thanksgiving to be the second-to-last Thursday of the month.

While Abraham Lincoln had established the Thanksgiving holiday in 1863 to bring the country together, the confusion caused by FDR’s date change was tearing it apart.  On December 26, 1941, Congress passed a law declaring that Thanksgiving would occur every year on the fourth Thursday of November.

This year, Black Friday falls on November 28th, meaning the Christmas shopping calendar is reduced to a little less than four weeks…this in a year which has seen the Dow lose half its value, industry after industry climbing capital hill begging for handouts, and unemployment on the rise.

Unlike those of The Great Depression, however, some retailers today act in a hostile manner toward the holiday which keeps them from bleeding red ink, choosing political correctness over profits.  But consumers also have a choice: mindlessly purchasing goods for no other reason than “it’s the holiday season”; or, because there’s a reason we shop at this particular time of the year, purchasing Christmas gifts from merchants that acknowledge that fact and welcome our celebration. 

So vote with your Christmas dollars and let the free market – not the secular-fascist Grinches – determine whether Christmas or any other holiday is to be recognized, or ignored.

Best Buy Obsesses Over Christmas Shopping Plans

November 26, 2008

wwwzoomerangcom_p_800 Best Buy, while outwardly hostile to Christmas, harbors deep concerns about your Christmas shopping plans this year.  Their online “Holiday Planning Survey” obsessively uses the word “Christmas” 4 times in a survey consisting of only 6 questions inquiring about your shopping plans, compared to only one occurrence in their entire 24-page online “Holiday Gift Guide” (see my Grinch Dominates Best Buy post). 

So, it’s apparent that they don’t want to sell you anything for Christmas, but they certainly expect you to buy your Christmas gifts from them.

My advice?  Spend your Christmas dollars elsewhere (Wal-Mart, Kohl’s…).

In other news:The number of consumers planning to shop for electronics at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. rose 50 percent from a year ago, according to a survey this month by ChangeWave, a market researcher in Rockville, Maryland.  At the same time, 14 percent fewer shoppers said they would go to Best Buy Co., the survey found.

Grinch Dominates Best Buy

November 25, 2008

You’d never know it was Christmastime if all you had to go on was Best Buy.  The Grinch has personally swept their stores clean and expunged all indications that Christmas is on it’s way. 

Well, there is one indication…on the last page of their online “Holiday Gift Guide”, Best Buy describes their “Holiday Helpline” service to reassure their customers that “…if you are having trouble setting up or using your new gift on Christmas day, we are there with a simple answer…”  But, since I won’t be spending any of my Christmas dollars at this naughty store, I won’t be needing their help on Christmas day.

Here’s the email I sent to Best Buy on 11-23-08:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I spent an hour in one of your stores one day this week, perused your 40-page 11/16-22/08 ad, and reviewed your 24-page online “Holiday Gift Guide”.  It is apparent that Best Buy is doing its best to completely ignore Christmas.

I did not see the word “Christmas” anywhere, no traditional red and green colors, decorations, symbols, etc.  Yet the word “holiday” appears in your online catalog 33 times, “New Year’s” appears once, and a Menorah was displayed…but not the slightest acknowledgement of Christmas.

It is my conclusion that Best Buy values political correctness above free-market capitalism, and deliberately patronizes its Christmas-shopping customer base which likely accounts for 90% of its sales from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Therefore, due to the very hostile nature of Best Buy’s strategy toward its Christmas-shopping customers, I will conduct all my “Holiday shopping” elsewhere, and I am encouraging all my readers to do the same.  Should you have a response, I will gladly post it on my blog.

Sincerely,

Todd Roper

www.whereschristmas.wordpress.com

I’ll post their response, if any, as soon as I receive it.

"Christmas Shop" Sets Wal-Mart Atop the Nice List

November 24, 2008

Wal Mart Christmas ShopWal-Mart continues to lead among retailers Where’s Christmas?supporters will be spending their Christmas dollars with.  You’re greeted online with a Christmas ad, and three links to their “Christmas Shop”.

“Christmas” is prominently and explicitly displayed throughout their website and their advertising.  It’s clear that Wal-Mart has abandoned their politically correct ways of Christmas 2005 when they joined the stampeding heard of Grinches by instructing their associates not to utter offensive words such as “Merry Christmas” to customers.

As reported in 2006:

“We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year,” Wal-Mart spokesman Linda Blakley told USA Today in a separate report.  “We’re not afraid to use the term ‘Merry Christmas.’  We’ll use it early, and we’ll use it often.”

To support its Christmas deals, the report said Wal-Mart will launch TV ads next week that trumpet “Christmas.”  It’s changing the name of its seasonal decorations department to “The Christmas Shop” from “The Holiday Shop.”

Moreover, Wal-Mart stores will play Christmas carols throughout the holiday period and about 60 percent more merchandise will be labeled as “Christmas” rather than “holiday” items, the paper said.

Support Wal-Mart and other retailers that have returned to their senses to celebrate the holiday which keeps them profitable.  Stay tuned to Where’s Christmas? for further reviews on which retailers are naughty and which are nice.  (Here’s a hint: Best Buy…Microcenter…not so nice).

 

Kohl’s Leads in Christmas Spirit!

November 22, 2008

I haven’t even started doing my research yet for this year, and the Kohl’s commercial grabbed my attention this evening for their Christmas Power Sale! 

So I wandered over to their website, and I was very pleasantly greeted by today’s Christmas Power Sale ad, and their Christmas Home Sale Catalog

              Kohls Ad             Kohls Christmas Sale

The most prominently featured ad on their website is The 25 Deals of Christmas.

 Kohls 25 Deals

You may remember last year when I took Kohl’s off the Naughty list.  This year, Kohl’s is betting it all early by unabashedly acknowledging Christmas.

It’s too early to say just yet, but I may be spending all my Christmas dollars at Kohl’s this year.  Please be sure to email Kohl’s and tell them you’ll be buying your Christmas gifts there this year too.

Fireworks Won’t Fly in Patchogue Parade

November 20, 2008

Fireworks by Grucci, America’s First Family of Fireworks and the top name in fireworks entertainment since 1850, generously donated over $5,000 worth of fireworks last year to the annual Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade in Long Island, NY.

This year, however, a narrow majority of Grinches on the chamber board voted to change the name to the Patchogue Holiday Boat Parade.  As a result, Grucci vice president Philip Butler said his firm will not provide fireworks for the event because the word “Christmas” is removed from its title.

The Greater Patchogue Foundation, which hosts the event on November 23, 2008 along with the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, decided in an un-unanimous vote to change the name because the use of the word “Christmas” garnered complaints from people who wanted the event to “be more inclusive,” said Charles Baker, president of the chamber.

Patchogue’s Mayor, Paul Pontieri, said: “When I think about fireworks, I don’t think about Christmas anyway – I think about the Fourth of July.”

Read more of the news story here and watch a video interview with Philip Butler.  Email, write, or phone to express your disappointment with the Patchogue Grinches.

Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce
15 North Ocean Ave.
Patchogue, NY 11772
(631) 475-0121

The Greater Patchogue Foundation
15 North Ocean Ave.
Patchogue, NY 11772
(631) 475-0121