Yesterday I was talking to a co-worker about going to BJ’s over the weekend, and we both commented on the giant inflatable decorations with disdain. I was forced to admit that it is, once again, the period of the year that I dread: the roller coaster ride between Halloween and Christmas. It’s hard to tell whether things were this tacky and commercial when I was a kid–a myth which my blooming sensibilities as an adult has begun to dispel–or if things have actually gotten worse. I used to feel like I could look forward to some breathing space after the sky-high excitement of Halloween, a few weeks filled with the peacefulness of falling leaves, grinning pumpkin window clings, and paper turkeys stuck to the refrigerator. Now everyone basically skips over Thanksgiving and goes straight to “Xmas,” since manufacturers can’t really pander merchandise for a holiday that’s not supposed to be focused on material goods (neither is Christmas, for that matter, but that’s another story). Don’t even get me started on the craziness of Black Friday.
Thanksgiving may have a somewhat skewed ideology when you think of how the Native Americans ended up, much like the “holiday” Columbus Day. Still, the sentiment is actually very important. We need to slow down and acknowledge this gratitude more openly, especially since an increasing number of people are being forced to work retail instead of taking time off to spend with their families. Meanwhile, here’s what I have to look forward to:
- Christmas music will start pounding the airwaves in another week or so. I won’t be able to escape it unless I stick to a few college-based and alternative radio stations.
- The Hallmark Channel will be saturated with sappy holiday stories that blur together after a couple of days.
- Starbucks will trade in Pumpkin Spice lattes for peppermint-flavored drinks and paste ads for these all over the place.
- I’ll have to start wrapping gifts for people.
- I’ll wake up after a seventy-degree romp the previous day and find the sidewalk coated with snow.
Oh well. I guess I can either be a Charlie Brown about the whole thing or choose the more bracing, if cynical, mindset of good ol’ Lucy.