The other night in Pricesmart, in the forefront of the Halloween candy display, I noticed a full shelf of imported cookies in tins and boxes. They weren't decorated in a Christmas theme, but it was pretty clear the store had brought them in as a first hint of the looming, (did I say 'looming'? I meant 'coming') Season. Beside the shelf of cookies was a cardboard stand full of Christmas cards, which I thought was fine for October 9, if someone needed to mail cards to relatives in some far off place like an undiscovered village deep in the Amazon Rainforest or the International Space Station. Last weekend, in the ever-shameless Superstore, we were greeted with a sign declaring: HALLOWEEN COSTUMES 25% OFF, while over in the seasonal display area, the Halloween stuff was already being pushed rudely aside in preparation for the piles of the more lucrative Christmas paraphenalia. I suppose that means the Thanksgiving things were out in July, but I must have wilfully ignored them. (I have also recently observed that the traditional holiday decorations are cross-pollenating: one can now buy Easter tree decorations and Thanksgiving crackers - the kind that go 'bang' when pulled, not the kind you eat). Don't they know that we parents are just trying to deal with one holiday at a time?
I'll admit I felt differently as a child. When I was little the Sears Wish Book would arrive in early fall and my brother, Stephen and I would pore over the pages, make fun of the ultra-serious male models in turtlenecks and satin smoking jackets, and mark all the toys and games we liked. We'd lie in bed at night asking each other what we wanted for Christmas and dream of air hockey, Easy-bake ovens, and velveteen skirt and jacket sets with lace collared blouses (at least in my case). I'm pretty sure it was mid-November when I would break out the 'Radar the Happy Reindeer' record. I'd sit in my dad's big green chair with heater and massage feature, listening on earphones to the story and music (the earphones were considered a great peace-keeping invention in our house.) After all, looking forward to Christmas is half the fun of it, but really, there are limits!
Is it truly necessary for the malls and shops to break out the Christmas decorations before Remembrance Day? It never hurts to be organized with one's shopping and preparations, but can't we do it on the sly instead of being so damned obvious about it?; ie. if I see something I think would make a great gift I will probably buy it and store it away in my hidden cache, but I don't need to be surrounded by tinsel and animated plastic Santas to do it. I mean, by the time Christmas is over I'm sick to death of hearing Elvis' 'Blue Christmas' while I shop for bread, milk and toilet paper. I would be the first to vote for a law against PDC's (Public Displays of Christmas) until December first.
My family and I spent this Thanksgiving with some very good friends at their farm. Since the day promised to be fine, we opted for a mid-day meal followed by a walk in the fields. It was wonderful to spend the morning cooking and the afternoon, after a huge turkey dinner followed by dessert and coffee, out in the fall sunshine. We first walked to the salmon spawning channel where the last of the coho struggled and splashed, next we walked to the second furthest field and spotted a big black bear enjoying the furthest field's grass. We watched the bear for a few minutes until it seemed to notice us, then headed south towards the house. We admired the row of sugar maples, all yellow and glowing against the deep blue of the mountains, we hunted for and dissected owl pellets in the cedar grove, and picked all the pumpkins in the farm's patch and loaded them onto the wagon. Back at the house we did the dishes while the children nibbled on pie and leftover potatoes, and then home we went, our bellies too full for anything resembling supper. And the best part? We didn't think about Christmas even once.