Thursday, November 6, 2014

Coping with more and more Christmas hucksterism

Last Saturday, Nov. 1, an area car dealership advertised an Event with refeshments, fun, fun, fun, and a visit from Santa.

Even the kids I know were surprised.

The Christmas trees have been in the stores, all decorated, since September.

But even before the last polling place closed on Nov. 4, the Christmas ads were starting. I wish I didn't let this continuous annoyance depress me, but it kinda does.

Poor Thanksgiving. Only in the grocery stores is it even mentioned, and I LIKE Thanksgiving. Good food with people I like. Good talk and laughter. Then everyone goes home and you can take a nap. Or (shudder) go shopping. It is such a freedom holiday, overall. Well, for me, anyway.

And I think the stretching of the season all started with artificial Christmas trees. Flameproof, fairly realistic, artificial Christmas trees with cooler, perpetual little lights all over them. Not one string, or two, or even three. Little lights ALL over, jostling the ornaments for a place on the branches.

The trees had to be invented and brought into the marketplace. No way could every home have a fresh Christmas tree, although a fair number still do. And the prices are, well, pricy. They may have been cut a month before, and the shelf-life expires with a tinkling of browning needles on the floor. But they smell so good. AND a formerly live tree won't make it to Christmas Day if you put it up too early.

The Christmases of my childhood sported freshcut trees from the nearby mountains. Our tree went up Dec. 15 or later, and the shopping didn't start much before then. No television either, grasshopper. (That always convinces children I am really, really old.) How naïve we were, not to market the holiday for all it is worth but instead, take leisure time during the holidays for those remembered cookies, candies, and even grandma's fruit cake. Funny about that. Hear tell times were more prosperous then, and college graduates could always find a job. Better than dreaming of sugar plums. (I don't think I have ever seen one, much less tasted it.)

Artificial Christmas trees in most of the homes I know where children live go up after the meal on Thanksgiving Day. We have a local radio station that plays nothing but Christmas songs for the month of December, and I believe they now include November. So many find them cheery and fun. After the 20th playing of "Holly Jolly Christmas"(and no one in the Southwest has holly), I go postal. It doesn't have to be in one day. Over a week would be plenty.

I don't mind the lights on houses because they are pretty. Also,with any luck for the neighbors, silent. I am a big fan of the silent enjoyment of Christmas. Seldom heard today.

And it all started with artificial Christmas trees.

I can't get away from the ads entirely--I have to listen to the news, although public television has quite a good news program. I have 3-4 programs I watch now, with their approximately 20 minutes of the hour in ads. I have shopping to do, and as usual, nothing advertised is what I am getting. This year I have to go online, because it's not on sale in the stores, either. As usual, gifts for my adult sons confound and puzzle me.

I don't begrudge shopping for my family, and I actually enjoy it close to Christmas--like the week before. But the constant hype and jolliness is wearing.

In my neck of the plains, I am known as "The Grinch."

Still, even I have one of those pesky trees.

This is my annual rant. It comes earlier each year.

When I see lighted artificial trees for sale on my birthday in August, I may start a movement.

For now, Christmas, once a lovely holiday, is my least favorite of the year. But enough for now.

I have to go shopping for myself.

I always buy a book I really, really want to read about now, put it in the closet, and start it sometime on Christmas Day. When I had children at home, it was a way of unwinding after the busy day. After the divorce, with the children gone for the day, it was my celebration for myself. It still is. I think it takes more self-control not to open it early now than it used to.

It just sits there, calling my name.

And it isn't even fattening.

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