On Christmas Creep

This is the fourth (fifth?) in a Series of Short Takes, commentary on salient issues of the day.  Unlike most of them, this one is neither political nor especially religious.  But like all of them, it will probably get a few people hacked off at me.  You’ve been warned.

At the stroke of midnight on the night of October 31, one of the local radio stations (heck, it might be more than one) begins playing Christmas music.  Not an occasional tune, mind you, but constant, unremitting Christmas music 24/7.

In nearly every store, as of this morning, there will be Christmas displays replacing the Hallowe’en ones, changing everything from orange and black to red and green and white.  There will be nearly ubiquitous Stuffed Santa and reindeer, candy canes, and badly flocked evergreens.  No, not will be.  There are.  Right now.  Retailers, desperate for cashflow, will be especially aggressive this year in trying to get us to forget November altogether, and the quaint Norman Rockwell drawings of a family Christmas with a few handmade gifts ever earlier give way to CHRISTMAS, the Shopping Season, and its outlandish displays of computerized cheer.

Being huge fans of Thanksgiving and especially its attendant holiday Pie Night, we resist this Yule Tide.  I ordinarily have the aforementioned radio station on my presets, but I take it off on Hallowe’en and put it back the day after Thanksgiving.  We will have browns and greens in our home decorating, but no reds (multiple reasons for this), and we will not be playing Christmas music of any kind.  If we acquire presents for people, they will remain unwrapped, or at the very least well hidden.  We hurry past all Christmas displays.  We leave shops that play Christmas music as fast as we can.

We are not anti-Christmas.  We love Christmas.  No one I know celebrates the season harder than we do.  But I am a fan of taking the seasons as they come.  When it is cold I do not wish for summer, and when it’s hot I rarely long for snow.  I don’t much care for Halloween, but I would oppose ignoring it in favor of Thanksgiving, even though the latter is my favorite holiday.  I vehemently oppose the annexation of Thanksgiving by Christmas, and even if we are the only free and independent island of Thanksgiving celebration in a vast ocean of the Christmas Borg, we will nonetheless refuse to be assimilated.

Our society spends a lot of time wishing for things.  When it’s Monday, we wish it were Wednesday.  Wednesday we celebrate because we’re halfway to the weekend, the blessed weekend.  We spend five days a week longing for the other two, then spend those two dreading the coming five.  When it’s hot we want cold and when it’s cold and snowy all we can think about is how great July is.  This is not just disturbing.  It’s destructive.  Whole populations never live their lives at all, spending their time in a dark theater of the mind watching previews of coming attractions, waiting for a feature presentation that never begins.

What a spectacular waste.

Probably I’m making too much of this.  Probably I’m just annoyed because the growing majority of “Christmas” music is so very, very bad – we really needed Beyonce’s take on “White Christmas”?  I mean, really? – and more than likely this Short Take will be met with Fred-like howls that Scrooge should lighten up.  After all, there are powerful forces at work in Christmas that are present in no other major holiday, and not all of those forces have evil designs.  Christmas has the power to make us more cheerful and more kind, and who couldn’t use an increase of that, especially this year?

Besides which, although I protest, observant readers will also know that I am compromised in my complaining, because a part of me resides with the enemy.  If you look closely at my car, you’ll see evidence that I may secretly be in league with the All-Year Christmasers.  There is something curious hanging from  my rear-view mirror, every day, all year ’round.

It’s a jingle bell.

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