Before, I stood athwart the seasons shouting “IT’S NOT THANKSGIVING YET!” But friends, last week I found myself standing aghast in a Barnes & Noble that was already trying to sell me on Christmas cheer — on TUESDAY, Oct. 28. Before HALLOWEEN had even happened.
This needs to stop. This is unacceptable.
I complain about it every year, and it still happens. It is almost as though writing about things on the Internet had no impact on them whatsoever.
It’s a horrible cycle. The earlier Christmas starts its cheery foil and tinsel and snowman barrage, the sooner I have to start complaining about it and trying to get it to hold off. I don’t enjoy this. If Christmas would just take it a little bit slower, we’d all be more comfortable. But it’s nosing its way into Thanksgiving’s personal space and breathing down Halloween’s neck and — someone has to say something.
Look at this. This was taken two days before Halloween!
So was this, so you can see how I felt about it.
I thought Halloween was invulnerable. I thought that our desire to eat candy, carve pumpkins and dress up as sexy crayons was strong enough to hold the tide of Christmas back. But I was wrong.
If there’s a war on Christmas, as I’ve said before, Christmas is winning.
Anyone who has had to spend time with me around a television (the commercials started weeks ago, with definite hints of mistletoe) or in a bookstore (et tu, Barnes & Noble?) or in a Staples (the holiday signs with blotches of red and green and cartoon snowdrifts are already out) knows the effect this has had on me. And now I won’t be able to walk through a CVS without sighing loudly and rending my garments, and I might need to buy some toiletries in the next month or two. But they’re there, and looming. The troops are marshaled, those creepy animatronic Victorians holding candles staring out the window at you as you pass, the tree ornaments, the festive Lego Boba Fetts you can dangle off your tree (these are real, and I saw one).
I love Christmas. I love The Holidays. I love these bright spots and festivals of light in the middle of the bleak midwinter, when families gather and Lifetime movies abound and a creepy animated Tom Hanks turns up on our televisions riding a train. But I can’t take it for two months. At the end of two months, I am about ready to dart down into Whoville and start pocketing everyone’s gifts with a snarl and sending Cindy Lou Who back to bed without water.
Listen up, friends, I like Christmas a lot.
But if you bombard me with it for TWO MONTHS, I will not.
So much can happen in two months. This is longer than a session of the Utah state legislature. You could celebrate Hanukkah eight times. If you were a rabbit, you could settle down and start a family, then leave that family and start another, entirely different family. (You could probably do that as a human as well, come to think of it.) Two months is much longer than many of the people in those Lifetime holiday specials have even known each other, and they are ready and raring to start lives together because of the Magic of the Season. Two months is an unreasonably long period of time to have to watch Holiday Ads and absorb Holiday Things and listen to popular singers of the 1950s expressing their opinions about chestnuts roasting on open fires. I love my family, but if they came to every public space that I had to visit and lurked there for the next two months singing lugubrious songs about snowfall, I would resort to desperate measures very quickly.
Is it any wonder there’s a war on Christmas? Christmas is a territorial aggressor.
No wonder people are irate that you’re erecting a Nativity scene in the town square. You’re erecting it there on Nov. 5th! We’ve barely recovered from the election! Maybe there would not be such a war on Christmas if Christmas had not invaded Thanksgiving. And this year it was clearly making a play for Halloween. Columbus Day is next. No one even celebrates Columbus Day anymore, so it is unlikely to put up much of a fight.
Do whatever you can. Stomp indignantly into your local corporate headquarters and make your voices heard. Demand Christmas-free zones. Out with the red and green. In with the vague pumpkin hues and vibrant browns.
Send Thanksgiving all the help you can get. Buy Thanksgiving greeting cards. Insist on Turkey Garlands. Dress up as a pilgrim. Dress up as a turkey. Clap and shout, “I do believe in Thanksgiving! I do! I do!” Anything you can think of. It is losing ground.
If this makes me Scrooge, or a Grinch, or a hideous Grinch-Scrooge hybrid, I accept it. But we must find a way to stop Christmas from coming — or at least, from coming so early. That’s no fun for anyone.