Okay, let me get the disclaimer out of the way, right away: First person that alludes to Scrooge in the comments gets kicked in the box. Don't give me any of that Dickensian rabblemouthing if you want to enjoy your holiday turkey, you spendthrift lout. God bless us every one, and all that jazz.
Let me tell you a story. It starts way, way back in October. On October 30th, actually. The day before Halloween. I heard a rumor that, unlike every other year I've been living on my own, there was a chance that I would be getting Trick-or-Treaters this year (not true), so I went to the grocery store to buy some candy. You know, the crappy stuff that's left over the day before Halloween -- Milk Duds and Chewy Spree.
Except it wasn't there.
Oh, the candy aisle of the supermarket was there, sure. This is America. But the big giant Halloween candy display -- where they have the special tiny "please egg my house" sizes -- was gone. It was replaced by the beautiful spangly white-felt-and-silver-glitter-snowflake display that has been up there ever since.
I tried to put myself in the shoes of the store manage. I picture him thinking: "If I were a shopper, and I were coming into the store the day before Halloween, what would I most want, nay! NEED to buy?" And bam -- up went the Christmas card display.
On October 30.
Early bird gets the worm and all that. If I was shopping for worms, that'd be perfect.
The day after Halloween, I stopped by a fast food restaurant to pick up a quick lunch on my way out to the remote site I work at. It was a hot day. I was thinking how good an iced tea would be, and I walked in, and ordered my lunch to the dulcet strains of "Let it Snow" which, in North Carolina, even in November, is laughable at best.
What am I getting at, here?
I feel accosted, attacked, even beset upon by the holiday season. I don't mind throwing a few old Christmas tapes on the Hi Fi a couple of weeks before the holiday, but two solid months worth of "preparing for the season" is just downright ludicrous.
I'll be jolly in my own goddamn time, thank you very much.
Based on the length and breadth of the marketing, you'd think that the entire country is completely forgetful about what is supposed to happen in the month of December. Yet, I just can't imagine somebody walking into a Burger King on November 3rd and thinking to themselves, "Oh my GOD, Jingle Bells! That's right! Christmas is almost here! Where is my head? Quick -- I need 55 packs of $1 gift certificates ... and a Whopper Jr. with cheese."
As it is, I even try to stay out of stores in December so that I don't have to shop armed with a small cudgel to keep the sales associates away from me.
"May I help you sir?"
"Have you found everything you're looking for, sir?"
"Are you in need of assistance, sir?"
"Is there anybody in particular you're shopping for, sir?"
"Is there anything I can do to make your shopping experience easier, sir?"
Yeah. Stay the hell away from me. If I want something, I'll buy it. In the meantime, I don't need a pack of crazed sales associates trailing my every move. I've been able to buy things all year without anybody holding my hand (or anything else), what makes December so much different? The fact that most retailers do a high percentage of their yearly profits in that one month? Here's a hint, guys! Cut costs! Relax a little on the holiday zealots! We get it! Christmas is coming! It's okay, we'll still get gifts for our loved ones, even if your staff aren't all dressed in identical flashing Rudolph sweaters!
And am I the only person who thinks it's ironic and wrong that there's merchandising built around The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?
So, finally, Christmas is here. Thank god (isn't that what it's all about?) it's over. Can we just enjoy family time and vacation, now, without having to be hit over the head with some incessantly annoying message of joy every 10 minutes?
Can we just put up the Valentine's Day displays and get it over with? There's only two months left to shop!
IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
12.25.06 @ 1:42a
I've got some Halloween candy leftover for you, the mini egg my house size, I'm sure it'll still be good next year.
I avoided as much holiday music as possible with iTune cds I burned. I suffered through some, but thank God for disco.
12.25.06 @ 3:00p
(That's a kick in the box!)
(He needs a kick in the box!)
(Gets a kick in the box!)
For everyone on Erik's lawn a kick in the box...
12.26.06 @ 10:40a
Bah fracking humbug! I have come to HATE the whole holiday season. I've never enjoyed the music, and having been born in Florida and lived here almost all my life, the whole snow thing and jingle bells just doesn't make sense. I'm very happy to know I'm not the only badass in the bunch. Yes, Bill, if I thought it'd do any good I'd declare war on Christmas. Bang! Bang! Bang!
12.26.06 @ 5:39p
I'm with you, babe. Accosted and attacked about sums it up perfectly, and I'll throw in "assaulted" for the alliteration hat trick. 'Twould be much easier to get behind the idea of peace on earth and good will to men, were I not being shoved, screamed at and smooshed.
12.27.06 @ 1:45p
Absolutely true. Accosted is the word. So is beset.
This year I haven't had a speck of goddamned Christmas spirit. Until Christmas Eve, that is, when people around here light luminaries all up and down the sidewalks. Luminaries are beautiful and peaceful and they give me genuine, warm feelings about Christmas.
12.27.06 @ 5:12p
I'm sick of the whole thing, and the implications of card sending, gift giving, families "fighting" over who sees who on what day, the forced subjectification over "if you say 'Happy Holidays', you're not acknowledging Christ's birthday, which is the REAL reason why we exchange $2,000 in gifts and pay it off over the next 6 months" when what it really means is that I don't know WHAT frickin' religion the clerk at Best Buy observes and I'm just trying to be cheerful and the bleeding heart "but it's Christmas, thus, we must by a new stove for the starving family of five but ignore them the rest of the year" and...and...and...
Bah. If people paid half as much attention to each other the rest of the year as they pretend to at Christmas, maybe we'd see real progress in the world.
12.27.06 @ 6:29p
I'm still hearing Christmas music in the diner and in stores. Christmas was 3 days ago. I think the music should end at midnight on the 25th.