Look out, here come the holidays

Look Out—Here Come the Holidays!
By Donna Jones

Blame it on the retailers. Stores put out holiday displays earlier every year. Just after Labor Day I was at the mall and I heard someone groan, “Oh my God—Christmas already???” And there they were—the fake Christmas trees, plastic snowmen and rock ‘n roll Santas.

With the Christmas season starting right after the kids go back to school, we’re faced with up to four months of holiday cheer. A normal person can’t be expected to be jolly that long.

Look out—here come the holidays. As Dave Barry says, it’s a “deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.” Surely more prayers are heard this time of year that any other. “Oh please, let my credit card go through.” But religion aside, what are the holidays about? Stuff. Buying stuff. Making stuff. Eating stuff. But who wants stuffing before Thanksgiving?

Here in Southern California there aren’t the usual cues to get us in the mood for holiday shopping. It can be 75 degrees in November. Our leaves don’t turn colors. The biggest change in the seasons we see is people putting on socks with their sandals. So the malls have to create the ambiance of a winter wonderland with plastic snowflakes, fake trees and holly because we’re never going to see anything like that here. Classic Christmas tunes like “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” piped over the PA put us in the holiday mood, but as soon as we leave the store, the San Diego sunshine jolts us back to reality. Christmas sweaters are cute, but it’s too warm to wear them until mid-February.

People who actually shop for Christmas early just annoy the rest of us. What do super-organized types do that last two weeks before Christmas? They’ve shopped and wrapped all of their presents, mailed their family brag letter, and baked enough cookies to feed the starving children of China. They’ve probably had “Nyah, nyah, I’ve got my shopping done,” T-shirts made. Maybe they’re the ones who are making the dreaded fruitcake. Nobody else will admit it.

And the kids will change their minds about a zillion times before Christmas anyway. TV works them into a frenzy all year. Kids don’t need to be reminded to ask for the latest video game or action figure. Seeing Christmas displays in October just throws the little darlings into high gear. The kids, not Santa, are the ones “making a list and checking it twice.”

Dragging out the Christmas season is hard on adults, too. The more anticipation that’s built up, and the more expectations there are. We’re expected to attend every party, purchase the perfect gifts, send cards to all of our friends, relations and business associates, and decorate cookies like Martha Stewart. We’ve had the Norman Rockwell version of the holiday shoved down our throats so long by the time the actual day arrives, the thought of one more candy cane is enough to make you barf.

But I don’t advocate waiting until the last minute and doing the Christmas shopping at the all-night drug store. As much as people love Chia pets, you just can’t give them year after year. When you can go out to the mall and look at the Christmas displays without groaning, you’ll know it’s time. Every season is shopping season. So how early is too early for Christmas? Anytime before we’ve got last year’s Christmas paid off.

Look out, here come the holidays


Joined November 2008

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Artist's Description

Why does Christmas come earlier and earlier every year? Are we going to start with the Christmas season right after 4th of July??

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