Santa Claus traditionally lighting the first fireworks? Don't laugh, it could happen. Independence Day could lose its own glory if we don't declare our independence from Pre-Christmas.
I think we need to trust in the ancient Romans when they invented the calendar and not try to re-invent it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
It USED to be (as every teenager in America suddenly groans with the knowledge they are about to be treated to 'the good old days speech') that at the local malls and towns Santa came the day after Thanksgiving riding ceremoniously into the mall parking lot pulled by horses or reindeer. The little kids followed him in awe to his place of honor where they could climb up on his lap and wipe their noses on his sleeve while telling him of their heart's desires.
It used to be.
This year while shopping for supplies for school, we had to push aside the Christmas decorations, moving garland and balls and lights in our efforts to properly pencil and paper my child.
The sounds of Christmas music echoed throughout the mall punctuated by screams of terror as we searched for spooky Halloween costumes. It made for an interesting mix..."Deck the halls with bowels of AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
And Santa's there, he slipped in unnoticed and set his bulkitude down in front of the camera where you can capture your child's confusion on film. After all, Mommy, didn't we just see Santa at Buy-Mart?
This transition, if you will call it that, supposedly is aimed at the consumer. If you poll the consumer you will normally find that most of them are not pleased to have this shoved down their throats...er... at this transition.
Yet, even though we may not like it, we feel compelled to get out there and begin before 'the best stuff is taken'. As well, it's aimed at making us buy more, and it works. More and more people each year are mired in debt from admiring too much too soon too often.
Holidays have several purposes. We want to commemorate a particular event, we want to celebrate it in special, appropriate and meaningful ways, we want a day off from work!
However as the blending from one to the other becomes so overlapped you've barely got time to digest your halloween candy before visions of sugarplums dance in your head. Don't think we don't feel the effects of this either. Last year while struggling for the perfect costume for a spook party, we came up with the idea of wearing the top half of my Santa suit with fishnet tights and spike heels and going as a 'HO HO HO'...
Thanksgiving used to be the gateway to Christmas. We built up to this time of giving thanks, laboriously preparing menus and planning and cooking. Then with the knowledge that we would work off all those extra pumpkin pie pounds shopping we entered the Christmas season. Now I know people who can't enjoy their turkey with 'Christmas hanging over their heads'... Hey guys, it's a HOLIDAY, not a death sentence!! Add to that the massive catalog business and we can sit in our armchairs and bloat while shopping via phone, computer, or TV.
As a child, I went to bed with a bare living room. Miraculously when I awoke on Christmas morning there was a huge decorated tree. It was what I saw first, not the gifts below it. I carried on this tradition with my daughter and it's a heck of a lot of work, but the magic is so much more. We stomped on the roof during the night, we made reindeer prints in the snow, we drove her to a house of lights each Christmas Eve that she believed to be the North Pole. Yes, we lied to her, but she gloried in every aspect as the holiday unfolded before her a little at a time.
And she always knew it was Jesus' birthday.
Her belief in the magic of it all was sorely tested one Christmas morning when she remembered, as usual, that I had cautioned her about getting up and catching Santa. It was my clever ploy to be sure she didn't peek before I had my camera aimed at her face. The poor dear REALLY had to go potty and was afraid to leave her room. Christmas pictures that year show mismatched pajamas and a set of wet bottoms hanging on the line.
Then there are the twelve days of Christmas, which actually extend long beyond just that day and well into the New Year. These days the decorations have been up so long that people are sick of them and want them down on the 26th.
The season begins so early, and its commercialism has blinded us to the spirit. We rush headlong into the melee and neglect to stop and smell the poinsettias. The perfect gift is not something you spend weeks searching for, it's the time you spend with the person you give it to. The heart of the holiday is just that, our heart.
Yet year after year we only feel our hearts pounding as we pound the pavements in our haste to 'get it over with', and move onto the next holiday.
It's Santa Claus, not the insanity clause, don't let it drive you crazy, you'll miss half the fun.