One of my wife's traditions during the Christmas season is to drive through the neighborhoods looking at the Christmas and holiday light displays. Tonight, we did just that and we were sorely disappointed. Blocks that used to be ablaze with lights were dark except for one or two houses and even their displays were muted compared to years past.
During the "Great Recession," we could understand when people cut back on their light displays. The lights and electricity to power them cost money. Today's lights are Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and are both inexpensive to buy and use only a fraction of the power. But people have lost the spirit of the holidays to bother to set up lights.
This goes hand-in-hand with the stores, too. Retailers want us to spend our money in their establishments, buying our Christmas gifts, holiday supplies and decorations. But, they do little to get us in the mood to spend. Are the stores decorated and look festive? Do they give off an air of excitement for the season? No. It is just the same, boring, utility displays they always have. No excitement leads to disappointing sales.