As Halloween arrives, kicking off the 2017 holiday season, I have been thinking about how my relationship with the holidays has changed. I have three kids, aged ten, five, and three: two boys and a girl respectively. As any parent will tell you, what the holidays mean changes when you’re responsible for making them magical. This is a lot of pressure, and there’s no way to be certain if you’re doing it right.
When I think back to what made my Christmases special, the earliest things I remember are trips to the mall to see Santa. The long, fidgety waits in line. The itchy and hot winter clothes that didn’t fit well. The tinkle of rights-free music droning on the mall intercom. The place was an overbearing part of the holiday experience.
It was in the mall that Mom first uttered the annual refrain, “They put the Christmas decorations out earlier every year.” It was in the mall that I saw all the toys that Santa magically knew I wanted and delivered. It was in the mall that I learned how to think deeply about others and what they’d like for Christmas. And Amazon has stolen that from us. Amazon has ruined Christmas.
According to some surveys, up to 51 percent of people’s Christmas shopping will be done online, mostly on Amazon. And, as convenient as shopping in your undies is, it lacks the spirit of an old-fashioned mall, with all its decorations, music, and bargains. Wading through crowds and finding a parking space may be challenging, but it’s a small price to pay for humming, “Here comes Santa Claus” with an armful of gifts wrapped by the Hospice volunteers. None of this can be done at home. Amazon has ruined Christmas.
Amazon is also largely to blame for the brick-and-mortar retail decline of late, which by some estimates has cost 18 times the number of jobs the death of coal has. But, since it wasn’t a punching bag for the Donald, no one seems to care. I don’t know about you, but, when Mommy wasn’t working, it seemed that Christmas lost some of its luster. And nothing is more demoralizing than being out of work during the holidays. Amazon ruined many Christmases.
Now, none of this is Amazon’s fault. Was it Henry Ford’s fault that thousands of buggy builders and whip manufacturers went the way of the dodo? Progress is an endless march and the new supplants the old, but that means there are going to be casualties. Amazon didn’t set out to leave hundreds of malls standing empty, to put thousands of retail employees out of work, and to ruin Christmas. But the facts remain: those malls are empty, those people are out of work, and to a greater or lesser extent, Amazon ruined Christmas.
****Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect those of IPW, LLC or Innovation & Tech Today. In short, please don’t have us killed, Mr. Bezos.