I’ve been trying to remember exactly when this change took place. When did “they” seize this three-week holiday season that I’ve always loved and turn it into a three-month commercial for every product or gimmick that has ever been sold, trashed or imagined? When did it happen and where was I when it did?
Like many people, Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. I have pleasant memories of family, homemade cookies, large dinners and dressing up as Santa. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive and always hoped it would last a little longer. People seemed to be kinder and more understanding and I was always a bit sad to see the tree and decorations come down. It meant getting back to normal, whatever normal was to me at the time.
However, it seems the old cliché about being careful what you wish for would seem to apply here, since I got that and then some. I never planned on seeing Christmas decorations as I walked through retail stores in shorts and a t-shirt just after labor day. Nor did I want television commercials to begin their holiday jingles while I’m still mowing the lawn or have Santa arrive at the mall for pictures before Halloween decorations have been taken down. People now hang lights on their homes before they sit down to turkey dinner, then decide to leave them up throughout the summer and fall so they’re good to go in October without the fuss. They don’t light them, of course, they just allow those wires that look like icicles to hang down from gutters and windows like some lazy form of new age exterior decorating. “They” know it annoys me and I’m convinced “those” people put “them” up to it.
I don’t understand why “they” decided to tinker with this time of year and why we let them. I realize it’s all about money and profit but why have we allowed them to draw us in and play with out time, wallets and hearts? We now bring people in to work on Thanksgiving? Really? What’s next, Rudolph in July? Mrs. C doing August public appearances for Wal-Mart? Cant we just decide not to visit those stores on that one day? Would it put that much of a crimp into our holiday shopping?
This is why Thanksgiving has now become my favorite holiday. It’s simple. You have family and food and if you’re into football, you hit the jackpot. No rushing around, no gifts, no three-month buildup, Short, sweet and memorable with lots of leftovers to keep it working for a few more days.
A few years ago my company asked me to dress up as Santa and take pictures for our company Christmas card. We used someone’s home on a lake in July. A photographer was taking pictures in front of a wood burning fireplace and the outfit became very warm. I needed some fresh air so I walked outside and onto the beach dressed as Santa. A security guy happened to be passing by in a golf cart and picked me up. We rode along the beach and I waved to people in bathing suits and stopped to take pictures with children and families. It was an unexpected, spontaneous moment and it only lasted a brief time. A few years later I was told that people in the community still remember and speak about that incident. It was simple, short and memorable.
I wonder if “they’re” listening. I wonder if you might be, as well.