Monday, November 12, 2007

Trick or Tree

Kids are barely out of their Halloween costumes and devouring their candy these days before we are bombarded with Christmas music piped through the mall and lights flickering in store windows. While I do not agree with the retail industry’s practice of pushing the start of the Holiday season earlier and earlier I have come to accept this annoyance as part of their business plan; get people shopping early and often. Retail establishments can do anything they want to lure customers in but when it comes to Christmas most people verbally express themselves as “old-school;” the season does not begin until Santa shows his rosy face and his little round belly at the end of the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day parade. While many people verbally adhere to this unofficial celebration calendar it is increasingly apparent that the trend towards post-Halloween yuletide is on the rise.

The first major sign came in the form of an email on November 1 from Fortunoff, a retailer in the New York metro area, announcing Santa’s November 3 appearance in their stores. Somehow Fortunoff arranged for Santa’s early arrival from the North Pole, a full 52 days before Christmas, so little girls and boys can get a jump start on their wish lists. The magic and joy of the holiday season with traditions like visiting Santa AFTER Thanksgiving ruined by this cheap marketing ploy, making Santa nothing more then some old man with a white beard that spends too much time, almost two months- 1/6th of the year, hanging out by the food court. Anyone who visits Santa this early in the season deserves to have him forget their list by December 24th.

People hanging their outdoor Christmas lights early in November is not that unusual in the frigid north with many lawn decorations impossible to drive into the frozen ground by December. What is unusual is witnessing how many people have already flipped the switches on those lights. It surprises me that with exorbitant price of electricity and the global push to “go green” and cut down on our use of natural resources that these houses twinkled under the glow of colored lights right after Election Day. Our old townhome community had official rules on the books regarding the use of Christmas lights; on after Thanksgiving and off by January 31 which seemed dictatorial when I lived there but now seem like logical standards we should all adhere to. I love the beauty of lights against a backdrop of stars and snow but fully believe the dark winter nights of January can use some sparkle far more then the crisp fall evenings of November.

We also received our first yuletide greeting in the mail, a Christmas card postmarked on November 1. To our friend's defense she is leaving the country for over a month but it would be much better to receive a New Year's greeting; less guilt around receiving a card before even ordering my own.

Flipping mindlessly through the channels last night, desperately trying to procrastinate by finding something worthwhile to watch on television, I was enraged to turn on TBS and find The Grinch who stole Christmas preparing to rob all the toys from Whoville. For several moments I watched in disbelief, desperately hoping the vision on the screen was nothing more then an extended commercial for their holiday line-up only to find myself utterly disappointed at the sight of Cindy Lou Who. It is only a matter of time before the networks begin showing the following double feature; “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” with “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Dr. Seuss must be rolling in his grave as the ultimate message of his famous book is all but forgotten in our retail driven society; "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"


Alex said...

Be careful, you might end up on the wrong side of the War on Christmas. Plus I was told that unless I did my patriotic duty to spend, spend, spend, that the terrorists would win. I'm so confused. (Barf.)

P.S. All sarcasm aside, nice post.

drew said...

Of all places, what is Santa doing at Fortunoff? It's like showing up at Crate & Barrel. When is the last time you've seen a kid with home decor and furnishings on their Christmas wish list? Looks like Ralphie better watch out or he might poke his eye out with that new set of flatware he's been yearning for all year...

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Drew, you have to start registering for china with Santa otherwise you won't complete the full set before you die!