Black Friday Watch: Hallmark Countdown To Christmas Ornament


Two weeks ago I was walking through Circle Centre mall in downtown Indy on my way to work and I noticed all the Christmas decorations were already up and I thought yeah, that makes sense, Christmas is only two MONTHS away. Then I realized it was that time of year. The time that makes me sad to be a human. The time when the news reports people being trampled to death to save $20 on a piece of crap DVD player. I think generally speaking any time you have people being trampled to death trying to get out of somewhere, like a burning building or a sinking ship, as morbid as it sounds, that’s acceptable – unfortunate, but acceptable. But anytime you have people being trampled trying to get into somewhere, that is a sign that society has become bored and stupid.

Now, I would never wait in line at 4:30 in the morning in 20 degree weather to save a few bucks on a product that’s going to break in 6 months. However, I do many things to perpetuate this whole Black Friday thing without meaning to. Namely, buying gifts for people at Christmas. I’m not saying I’m going to stop buying things for people, but I think there is something to be said about at least being aware that this is “not what Christmas is for”. In honor of that, I’d like to remind myself first and foremost, and anyone else who happens upon this blog, to do their best to be vigilant during the holiday season. Thus, “Black Friday Watch”. A new blog series in which I’ll point out some of the most ludicrous things I come across on the Internet, on TV, and out there in stores and on billboards*.

To kick off the series, we’ll start off with a little new product for the 2010 holiday season from the “caring” folks at Hallmark:

That is a countdown clock with a Santa Claus coming out of the top that you put on your Christmas tree – the Christmas tree that sits atop the mountain of presents waiting to be opened on Christmas morn’ (I have no idea why it says “Magic” to the right – maybe to help us remember that Christmas is about magic). Here’s the product description:

Time Santa’s arrival to the last second with this clock ornament. The clock’s liquid-crystal display activates at a touch and turns the long wait into a fun family routine. Set the current date and time to display how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds until Christmas! The clock will continually count down the “wait time” and on Christmas Day, the display scrolls the happy message of “Merry Christmas” & a flashing “Ho Ho Ho”! The countdown to Christmas can begin as early as October 1 AND can be REUSED Year after Year.

Oh good I was hoping I could start our “fun family routine” of counting down to Christmas on OCTOBER THE FIRST. So, here’s what Hallmark wants us to do: quarantine a section of our house, put up a tree plastered with ornaments form Hallmark, surround it with gifts (who can fit all their gifts under the tree these days?) which all have cards from Hallmark, and crown the entire thing with an LED clock counting down the seconds until that blissful morning. And they want us to do this starting on October 1st. Might I remind you that October 1st is ONLY EIGHT DAYS AFTER SUMMER ENDS. They want us to do this ritual for one quarter of the entire year.

It is only natural that they will add features to this clock as the years go by. I bet the next feature will be a secondary clock below the main display counting down the days until Black Friday. In 100 years I bet Black Friday becomes a bigger holiday than Christmas. Don’t think it could happen? Look at Halloween. Do people celebrate the original, real holiday on November 1st (All Saints Day)? No, they celebrate a different day leading up to the real holiday which they have termed “Halloween”, just like they have termed the Friday after Thanksgiving “Black Friday”.

Here’s an alternative to the “fun family routine” of pushing a button on an ornament to see how many seconds until you get to open your gifts: The Story of Christmas: Story Book Set & Advent Calendar. That will still entertain the kids by retaining the whole countdown feeling, while hopefully steering the focus back a little closer to where it should be.

*Not a guarantee. If I never do another post in this category again, I am not held responsible. For some reason I have a trigger finger when it comes to starting series.

The Gimcracker

Hi, I'm a person who blogs on the Internet and does not have a Facebook or Twitter account. It's like I accepted all new technology up to and including blogging, but then I rejected anything that came along after that. I am Social Media Amish.