anne_mikolay_120It’s early in the Christmas season, but I’m already feeling “targeted” by the onslaught of holiday advertisements aimed at my wallet. I made it through Black Friday with ease – never left the house – but yesterday retailers invaded my hiding place via “Cyber-Monday.” My email was flooded with “special offers” and “door buster savings.” Thankfully, I didn’t bite.

Pardon me if I sound like the Grinch, but I find all this holiday hoopla irritating. I can’t even sit down to watch television without seeing a ridiculous Christmas commercial. The Gap and Old Navy should rethink their marketing strategies: their annual dance routines featuring teenagers (and this year with annoyingly precocious kids) gyrating in colorful sweaters, hats, and scarves (ensembles that I have never seen teenagers wear, by the way) are my signal to get up and go to the kitchen for a snack. I won’t look at those advertisements, nor will I watch the Old Navy clips. Whoever told Old Navy that using mannequins to push their products instead of real people should be fired. This year, Best Buy joins my list of irritating commercials. It’s only the first week of December, and I must have seen their gift-suggesting carolers a million times. Ditto for whatever car company has that commercial with brand new autos “wrapped” in bows, waiting outside in the snow, for the lucky recipient to find on Christmas morning.

Gift suggesting carolers and colorful hip-hop dancing teens give me pause. The average viewer can’t afford to follow their suggestions to purchase a big screen television for Dad, or a shiny new car for Mom. Of course, a bombardment of clever commercials with cute jingles is tradition this time of year, and as much a part of the all-encompassing commercial that is Christmas as the aisles of yule-tide decorations that appear in the stores right after Halloween. The older I get, however, the less I appreciate such things.

I propose a different kind of commercial. How about one with a simple sparrow landing on a tree limb? No clever jingle…just the sparrow’s song…and the words upon the screen: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

Never gonna happen. It’s just not elaborate, or expensive, or flashy enough to be the “ordinary” Christmas.

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Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...