Sunday column: Christmas too early

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … everywhere we go ….

Ahhhh, such a great song, one that gets me in the mood for Christmas. A song I usually only expect to hear in December, or even during the days following Thanksgiving.

But rewind a week, to Nov. 1, specifically. I wake up just as I do any morning and flip the TV on to Good Morning America (my wife isn’t much on SportsCenter in the mornings). After a segment featuring some actor on whatever movie was coming out that week, the commercials came on.

That’s when I heard it … “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … everwhere we goooo.” It was a commercial for Wal-Mart, I believe. Before I had a chance to double-check the calendar, the next commercial had a Christmas theme as well. It may have been Toys R Us.

And for some reason, it angered me.

“Why are there Christmas commercials the day after Halloween?” I asked my wife, not expecting an answer, because I already know why they’re doing it. I just don’t like it.

But the Christmas spirit didn’t end there. The Riverbirch Shopping Center in West Sanford has lights shaped like Christmas trees in the parking lot already. Carthage Street leaving downtown Sanford has festive lighting already … only I’m not sure what they’re supposed to be.

Candles? Candy canes?

I shouldn’t be “angry” by all of this, but I am one of those traditionalists who believe if you have a single Christmas light showing prior to Thanksgiving Day, then you’re too early. You don’t see me putting up my Halloween pumpkins in August, and I’d be hard-pressed to find St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks on doors in January.

 So why are we so early with Christmas? I can kind of understand stores … they want shoppers in “the spirit,” and they want them buying now (kind of makes you all warm-hearted inside, doesn’t it?).

But why are the lights and trees going up early in the homes? I know some of you NEVER take them down, so at least you have an excuse. Actually, I have other issues with you, but that’s for another column.

I know I’m not alone in this line of thinking. Don’t get me wrong, when I say it makes me “angry,” it doesn’t mean I’m about to lose it and go tear down your lights to teach you a lesson. In fact, I’m not even sure why it’s a big deal to me. It just is.

When Jennifer and I lived in Houston, she worked for a company, Nordstrom, which runs department stores throughout the U.S., that refused to put up a single holiday decoration before Thanksgiving. They even took pride in this, displaying signs in their stores in November that poked fun of the other stores that may as well have had Santa Claus passing Halloween candy.

I always appreciated Nordstrom for that.

So why is this a big deal? I grew up in a family that made decorating the tree a big deal. My brother, sister and I couldn’t wait for the night my mom and dad broke out the fake plastic tree and gawdy ornaments (some of them we’d made over the years) and told us to decorate. They’d make hot chocolate for the occasion. Christmas specials would be playing on TV, and Christmas music would be on the radio.

It was special. It brought us together. It made me absolutely love Christmas.

So, yes, it bothers me that it all happens so early. But Nov. 22, I’m already kind of sick of seeing Christmas lights. By the time my family gets around to finding our tree, cutting it down (we’re in North Carolina now, I’m told it’s law to use real trees) and putting up the lights, we’ve already seen hundreds of decorated homes and trees. Our night is still special, but it feels like we’re doing it late.

I joked on my blog last week that if anybody didn’t like the candidates on the ballot, they should just vote for me as a write-in. I think one of my laws would be to hold off on the Christmas lights until Thanksgiving Day (it’s acceptable to decorate that night, since the holiday season officially starts that day anyway). Maybe we’d fine people who decorate earlier.

As you can see, I have no reason being in public office, since these are the issues I’d be most passionate about.

If we don’t put a halt to it now, we’re going to start celebrating Christmas and getting in the “holiday spirit” in September. The first day of school for kindergarteners will include making out your Christmas list to Santa. Voting day in early November will include a question asking if you’ve been naughty or nice.

As you can see, it’d be a disaster.

So please, hold off on getting in the Christmas spirit until the season actually arrives. It will make it that much more special to you. And if we can all get on board with this, maybe the retail industries will take notice and hold off as well. I know preserving the “experience” is much more important to them than making a few bucks, right?



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