I really do love Christmas. I love the season. I love the goodness and generosity that usually accompanies the month of December. Today is the day after Black Friday. I think this might be called "Even Blacker Saturday" as it seems to me the "sales" still continue and you didn't have to be down at Kohl's at 3:00 am after all. But from what I've been told some people really love doing this. Like a sport - they prepare for it all year. To be one of the first 100 shoppers to get that free ornament or chance to enter a drawing for a $500 Visa card is worth the blood bath they might endure.
I noticed Christmas items going up in the stores at about the same time they were removing the Halloween costumes. Is it just me, or does this seem even earlier than last year? And that reminds me, I didn't get any treats for Halloween until the day of. Mainly because I wasn't sure if I would be home that evening to give out candy, and secondly, it is not the best idea for me to have miniature Mounds Bars or Kit Kats around. And I refuse to buy candy that I wouldn't eat myself, like Skittles or Blow Pops. But when I went to Target on October 31st to pick up a few bags of my favorite chocolates, the trick was on me. They had already cleared the "seasonal" shelves, replacing those pounds and pounds of Halloween candy, with what else, but red, green and white Hershey kisses and a multitude of flavored candy canes.
|Bypassing Thanksgiving all together at Walmart|
But back to the subject at hand, I also noticed the empty corner parking lots putting up fencing and signs being posted, "Steve's Christmas Trees - back again this year." Thanksgiving had officially come and gone, almost getting buried entirely in the fake Christmas snow and silver tinsel.
Just moments ago the town's annual Christmas parade passed by my storefront window - today is November 27th. There is no foreplay to the season - it is just like slam bam, thank you ma'am - was that good for you too? No spring before summer, no clouds before rain. There is no gradual easing into it, no dinner, no dancing. It is like getting hit over the head with a mammoth fruitcake.
I really don't like being cynical - I want to like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. I want to appreciate Spongebob Squarepants, Ronald McDonald and Kanye West in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But I don't. I don't want all the media hoopla. I just want simple. Spiced apple cider, friends meeting for lattes, sharing a bottle of wine, sitting by the fire. Going to see the Nutcracker, driving around the neighborhood and seeing the Christmas lights, hot cocoa and listening to Christmas carols sung by the local children's choir. I wish we could eradicate the obligatory gift giving. I love giving and receiving gifts, when they are from the heart. Giving the gift of time, a visit, a laugh, a homemade meal, a really good chocolate Babka, or whatever it is that you can be or do best.
With all of the pre-season hype, instead of feeling we have more time to revel in the season, we start to feel even more pressure. The idea behind it of course it to give us more time to "shop" - to boost our economy. But it has me looking at my calendar more like one of those elementary math challenges, "Jason and Bob together have 193 marbles. Bob has 47 marbles less than Jason; if Jason gives Bob 15 of them, how many more marbles does Jason have than Bob?" Well, Jason and Bob need to work out their own problems, but mine is that there are only 27 days till Christmas, minus work days, leaving me only14 days to get out and deck the halls.
Shortness of breath, a twinge of panic, stir in a little frantic, a pretty bleak checkbook, and there you have it, the makings for the holiday blues - but here's the Rx - a hot toddy or two, a whole lot of mulled wine, or my sister's Mexican eggnog. Priceless. Anyone care to join me?