It’s that time of year again. The kids are approaching midterm, the trees are filled with beautifully colored leaves (or decay, if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person) and as we approach the end of October, it has arrived. We all sensed it coming. Slowly at first, then slightly faster, ultimately with a big explosion. No, it’s not a North Korean missile. It’s the yearly invasion of holiday decorations. Whether it be for Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s time once again to infuse our lives with an insane amount of clutter.
And what a wonderful time of year it is. As you’re reading your monthly Gazette, more and more shops are taking all their mundane “regular stock” and squeezing it all to the back of the store to make way for the far more important things like; not-very-bright lights, wreaths, ornaments, pumpkins, trinkets, skeletons, tinsel, fake cobwebs or various forms of plastic fruit.
Decorations are everywhere, whether it’s scary witches, fall leaves, or triangular trees, there is no escape. With the odd mix and overlapping of decorations, the holidays can become very confusing. Few things are as jarring as seeing Rudolf on one roof, staring down the grim reaper on the other. I can barely tell which decorations are for which holiday anymore. At this point, we might as well combine the holidays and just tell kids that, during this time of year, a very thankful skeleton in a Santa suit delivers turkeys to the best-dressed children on October 31st. (This is pretty much the story of Tim Burton’s “A Nightmare Before Christmas” Great movie).
Halloween has come and gone, and what a marvelous time it is. It’s the one time of year where we don’t have to be ourselves – we can be in costume and do things we would never normally do, such as telling the kids it’s ok to take candy from strangers. Children are dressed up as any number of things from creepy clowns to superheroes, and unicorns to sparkle-witches. In my day, my mom would wrap
me in a plastic bin bag, and strap a cut-out from a cereal box on my head, but I’m not bitter…
The holiday season is competitive, and as with any competition, there is a loser. That loser is clearly Thanksgiving – the “middle child” of the holiday season. You probably forget the date it’s celebrated every year, the decorations tend to be hand-me-downs from its more popular sibling, Halloween, if there even are decorations at all, and most people are simply waiting for it to be over so they can celebrate the cooler, more fun holiday of Christmas.
But yes, while Thanksgiving is trying to crawl out of Halloween’s shadow, Christmas is slowly making its way into First Place. I saw an online comic that summed it up perfectly: Basically Santa, being a jerk, has decided to skip the line, while a skeleton and a turkey are shouting at him to wait his turn. I don’t know why Christmas tends to take over the entire Fall/Winter seasons. Maybe it’s because of the religious connection? Or perhaps a holiday that glorifies witches, pirates, and murderers isn’t quite as profitable as a jolly, fat man drinking Coca-Cola and delivering presents? We’ll never know. What I do know is that I am not a Grinch, but I feel as though I have to spend all of October & November purposely dodging any and all festivities because if I don’t, I will run out of cheer before we even reach December!
Christmas is hands-down my favorite. It’s not perfect. Yes, it does mean stores replace their regular inventory with Christmas-themed inventory. Have you ever tried to buy a birthday card near Christmas? Wrapping paper? A cake? Unless your name is Jesus, your birthday doesn’t mean jack, apparently! And there are the lights – lots of lights—which I’m sure account for 90 percent of the total electric usage during the month of December… But nevertheless, Christmas is a damned good holiday. The lights give off a glowing charm, there’s a feeling of magic and excitement in the air, and the kids are much less likely to misbehave for fear of Santa's wrath.
I suppose what I’m saying with this random rant is just remember to enjoy yourself this holiday season. We may be caught in the perfect storm of overlapping holidays, but don’t forget to take time to breathe and enjoy each holiday on its own. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to buy some beer in preparation for St Patrick's Day.