Christmas is coming! I sure hope you were sitting down for that news. Granted, we all knew it was coming, but we have selective amnesia about the winter holidays.
Just like every year when the first snowfall causes us all to gasp, incredulously, then wander around in a daze, muttering: “Can you believe it’s snowing?”
Signs. Each and every year we forget anew that the sight of school supplies on store shelves and pumpkins on every porch is but a sure sign that the holy trinity of big muscle holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, and/or Kwanzaa are bearing down on us.
Fortunately, we have our nation’s selfless retailers, who are busily hammering home – with singing Santas and plastic gumdrops as big as your head if necessary – that the big guy in the suit is coming and his bag isn’t going to fill itself!
Subtle clues. Not that there weren’t other subtle clues. Our local mega tire store/supermarket had a fully functioning holiday department complete with the aforementioned dancing Santas and giant plastic candy canes in place well before Halloween.
You could swing by and pick up your miniature chocolate bars, a 6-foot inflatable pumpkin, and a pre-lit Christmas tree all in one quick trip.
Now, with only the barest dregs of the candy that time forgot remaining to remind us of the chocolate and gummy bear largesse of just weeks ago, I know it’s getting serious.
Holiday catalogs. There are suddenly, and without provocation, thousands of catalogs showing up in my mailbox daily. Apparently this is the year that Lillian Vernon has decided she’s going to get me to bite on that personalized “World’s Best Grandma” remote control cozy, or she’s going to die trying.
This annual realization that the big spending holidays are literally just around the corner tends to hit adults pretty hard. Although, conversely, it makes the folks at VISA downright giddy.
Children’s view. If only we could be more like small children; for them, the span from Halloween to late December is eternal. The days consumed by endless blather about Pilgrims, when clearly all their mercenary little hearts desire is to get to that holy grail of “gimme” that is Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah.
To a child, that goofy pilgrim buckle hat is just an orange barrel slowing down the fast lane to the good holiday.
Pumpkin pie, even with the canned whipped cream you can squirt directly into a sibling’s ear, is no match for flying reindeer and mountains of batteries-not-included goodies.
When adults pass the benchmark of Halloween, they know that the number of remaining days to deny their lack of gifts for hard-to-please relatives that they have otherwise blissfully ignored all year, will disappear practically overnight.
Holiday stress. This is particularly frightening for adults with children, whose usual holiday stress is compounded by the risk of turning what should be their child’s enduring and joyful childhood memory into “the year I didn’t get the blue Care Bear.”
It is said that the cure to avoiding holiday stress is to shop early, but I’ve never been quite sure what that is exactly? September? July? Dec. 26 in advance of the following year?
Why do no other holidays get this kind of drum roll? Where is the breathless anticipation of say, Valentine’s Day – certainly no slacker in the stress department for many?
Forgotten holidays. Maybe Groundhog Day and Flag Day would enjoy a better street presence with better press? I am taking no chances. Let everyone else fiddle around winter holiday shopping while Rome burns, my friends.
I say it’s time to get on the ball! There are only 37 1/2 shopping weeks until National Mustard Day left.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt wishes all readers the happiest National Cheese Day (Jan. 20), ever. She welcomes comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)