|‘Christmas Present’ photo by Petr Kratochvil|
If this doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, nothing will.
The results for Black Friday are in, and according to a press release from the National Retail Federation, “212 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday Weekend,” spending an “estimated $45.0 billion” on holiday shopping.
(And, I thought we were still in a recession.)
Cyber Monday seems to have done impressively well too, according to a press release from ComScore, Inc., which trumpets a headline stating, “Billion Dollar Bonanza: Cyber Monday Surpasses $1 Billion in U.S. Spending as Heaviest Online Shopping Day in History.”
So much for my take on the economy, as millions nationwide are poised to loose extended unemployment benefits as well as their homes to foreclosure in the coming weeks.
Each year the holiday shopping season officially kicks off with the traditional Macy’s parade in New York City, but this year, Macy’s took a bolder step and launched their season (at least in their Philadelphia Center City store) the day before Halloween, when something quite unique occurred; the venerable Opera Company of Philadelphia’s chorus, accompanied by the world’s largest pipe organ (the Wanamaker ) along with 650 other primed voices from the community, launched into a noontime spectacular rendition of George Frideric Handel’s ‘'Hallelujah Chorus.'
The event, that created a massive shopper sing-along was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of their community outreach program, Random Act of Culture, which endeavors to bring “classical arts out of the concert halls and opera houses and into our communities to enrich our everyday lives.”
Over the next three years, a total of 1,000 Random Acts of Culture will take place in the following cities: Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit, Mich.; Macon, Ga.; Miami, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; San Jose, Calif.; and St. Paul, Minn.
The entire six minutes of glorious music echoed through every balcony and department at Macy’s, and was captured on the video below, which has been viewed by over five million people, and (judging from the comments left on the Knight Foundation site) brought tears to the eyes of those who participated or viewed it online.
In my humble opinion, this wonderful Random Act of Culture, spread more holiday cheer, and did more for the American psyche than any store-bought gift ever could.