The War on ChristmasPosted: November 16, 2012
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the next person who mentions Christmas before I taste turkey gets a kick in the jingle bells. It’s not that I’m a Grinch (although my sister, the Christmas Elf, will gladly tell you otherwise). It’s just that my ability to enjoy the Christmas season is inversely proportional to my level of exposure to it. Don’t get me wrong; we have our holiday traditions, and I love them all. The music, the food, the decorations; most of all I will never forget the look on my sister’s face the year I finally slipped the lump of coal into her stocking for a change. But I digress. The point is that these moments are beautiful because they are rare, they are fleeting, and thereby they are magical.
I remember when I was a kid (and I have never felt older than when I typed those words) there seemed to be an understood rule: Christmas didn’t start until after Thanksgiving. Sure, you might see a few commercials about the big sale at your local department store on Black Friday in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, but it was always in the background, like the siren song of savings before the mad rush of commercialism truly began. First came the parade, Dad would yell at the TV while he watched football all day, then the turkey, and you finished off the night with The Wizard of Oz. The next day would come with its marathon of shopping quite soon enough, and Santa’s lap would be waiting all month long for you to whisper your list of impossible desires to be passed on to your long-suffering parents.
In the last twenty years, and particularly I’ve been noticing it in the last yen years, it’s like the stores can’t wait for Christmas to start. They’re worse than the kids. My roommate told me he was in one store, which shall remain nameless (but it rhymes with K-Mart), and they had a Christmas aisle set up already. Oh, I forgot to mention: this was three weeks before Halloween. It was right next to the Halloween aisle; talk about one-stop shopping. I’m surprised they didn’t have chocolate bunnies out, too.
It can’t be the economy, or trying to lure in the “early shoppers”, because they were doing it before the economy tanked, and there have always been early shoppers (my mother is still finding gifts she “hid” back in August… of 1998). It’s like someone decided to hell with the unspoken rule, and once one person crosses that neutral zone and gets away with it, everyone else jumps on board, and I for one think it’s time we all take a stand. We mock people who leave their Christmas lights up on their homes more than a few weeks into the new year; isn’t it time we boycott stores that put theirs up more than a few weeks before the holiday? Don’t we deserve a chance to celebrate one holiday at a time?
Am I the only one who has seen Mame? Does no one else know the song “We Need a Little Christmas”? There’s a reason that song resonates, and it’s because Christmas is supposed to be a special time, a time of magic and joy. But to be special, it has to be rare. When Christmas gets pushed back so far that it literally becomes “Christmas in July” as the marketing campaigns of my youth used to say, where’s the magic? Doesn’t Santa deserve a few months off?