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Christmas Before Thanksgiving

<b>Andy Rooney</b> Chides Retailers For Trying To Skip Over Thanksgiving

This segment was first broadcast on Nov. 24, 2002.

A weekly commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.



One of the ways we divide our year is with holidays. The Fourth of July is the beginning of summer. Labor Day is the beginning of a new year. New Year's Day isn't really the beginning of anything except a new calendar.

Thanksgiving is our most American holiday and it's good because we don't have to DO anything on Thanksgiving except maybe eat turkey and watch football. That's why I object to the way it's being squeezed out by Christmas. The trouble is, there's no money in Thanksgiving for businesses. People trying to sell things want to skip right over it and get to Christmas.

Christmas is far and away the most commercial holiday we have. Some stores do 30 percent of their whole year's business in the period before Christmas. That's why they try to make it last a long time by starting it earlier every year.

Here it is four days before Thanksgiving and the stores are already all about Christmas. The big department stores have their Christmas windows fixed up. They're good to look at, but they're too soon, that's all. It ought to be against the law to start Christmas before December.

In the malls, some stores have had their Christmas decorations up since October. Kids are sitting on Santa Claus' lap telling him what they want before their parents know where they're going to get the money to pay for it.

In New York City, they put up the tree in Rockefeller Center ten days ago - 41 days before Christmas.

The Salvation Army already has its bell ringers on the streets, looking for Christmas donations.

Everyone is trying to make whatever they have to sell seem like a Christmas present. Shoes are not a Christmas present at any time of year. On television, there are unlikely Christmas gifts. How would you like a bottle of Pepto Bismol for Christmas?

For the past six weeks, we've been getting magazines with special Christmas or "holiday" subscription offers. When you open a magazine, these holiday flyers fall out like confetti. In advertising, "holiday" is the new, religiously correct name for Christmas.

I like Christmas presents, Christmas music, Christmas trees, Christmas cards. I like the Christmas spirit. What I don't like is the way people whose only interest in Christmas is money have moved in on a nice, non-commercial holiday as Thanksgiving.

Written By Andy Rooney