‘Tis NOT the season

Dress-up time has come to an end. Halloween is over. It’s always a bit sad for me even though I’m not such a Halloween fan. It’s like I wilt a little, because I know what’s coming.

After the crash of Halloween, come November 1, the consumer world starts to go a bit crazy. No, it’s not that American Thanksgiving is coming and everyone is buying turkey and pumpkins. It’s the start of open season on Christmas, where worshipers, revelers, Hallmark, and credit card companies all warm their hands at the fire and wait.

The day after Halloween, people start counting down the days til Christmas. Is there no time to pause and wait for baby Jesus to arrive on his own? You can’t rush a birth, as much as most second-time mothers will tell you they’d like to get it over with. When the baby is ready he will come on his own. Unless he’s overdue, and then you need to get on your ass and ride over to the nearest OR. Baby Jesus had three wise men to bring him gifts and they were wise enough to wait until the night before.

November 1st is too early to start decking the halls. People put up decorations, and string up lights. I like the lights, especially when they reflect on the snow so brightly. But in the dark dreary days of November, and not yet the libation-drinking and days off, no amount of pretty light is going to make time go faster.

max and grinch

There should be a moratorium on Christmas music as well. You can’t start singing about decking the halls and silent nighting, when we are all still in a candy coma. You can go to most drug stores, which pipe the tra-la-la too early, and be inundated with Christmas decorations on one side of an aisle and discount Tootsie rolls, Rockets and no-peanut chocolate bars on the other. Where is the balance? You can’t decide between stocking up on just-in-case emergency chocolate bars (on discount!) or being swayed by the subliminal music to get a jump-start on stockings and shiny balls for your tree.

I like Christmas, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t need it crammed down my throat. I know when it is. I know that it comes the same time, even the same day, every year. Let’s not water-down a good holiday (whether you celebrate it or not) by spreading it out.

Buying decorations in late October will not make me feel more cheery two months later. Then you are just creating a blended non-holiday with a strange ghostly beginning and an odd gift-giving end, increasing stress (more shopping days!!), and we’ll start saying Boo at Christmas. I don’t think this is what Baby Jesus was hoping for either.

* Discuss. (Go make a comment now). (Go).

* When do you think Christmas decorations should come out?

(Photo credit: k945.com ),(Photo credit: jokeroo.com), (Photo credit: camflan)

25 thoughts on “‘Tis NOT the season

  1. In the word of Bette Midler in the remake of Stepford Wives, “How about I take thousands of pine cones and spell out the words: ‘Big Jew’ on my front lawn?!”

    As I’m sure you can glean, I don’t decorate.

      • Ha-Ha! Yes they are. I’ve been Jewish for the last 12 years. Prior to that I was Catholic. The conversion happened when I married a Jewish man. People always ask me if I miss putting up a Christmas tree, opening presents etc… and my answer is/was always, “No. Not one bit.” I gained so much insight and perspective by no longer following the Christian holiday, not to mention relief from the pressures of it all.

      • I think the thing about holidays and events is the ritual of it. I don’t think it’s the tree and presents per se that is such a big draw, but the emotions and ritual that we associate with it. We create that ritual and then value it for what we make it.
        If we were to spread out pinecones and be mindful and concerned about what we were doing, that could be just as beneficial to us as a tree.

      • Gosh, I never thought about it that way. For some reason, for me, before becoming a Jew, the holidays were always a time of stress and anxiety.

      • I guess it’s what we make it. And hence my post about the consumer part of things becoming so much a part of the holiday.
        It should be a time, whatever we do, of rest and rejuvenation.

  2. In more traditional spectrums of living faith people actually fast before the Nativity of Jesus from around Thanksgiving to Christmas. I like some early anticipation of the season as it is probably important to remember that Jesus is the Jew who made us think about exceptions to eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth and not only from a didactic perspective, but by example receiving but not returning evil for evil. Not a bad tradition to recall for longer.

    The early commercialization you write about just wants to destroy any notion of imperfection in us, which preempts the true spiritual productivity possible during the season in which the gift to all is innocence in the birth of a child, with each actual birth of a child preceded by a much longer labor borne by mothers whose labors are never appreciated enough in just about every culture under the sky. With the birth of each child, the labors going before all say one thing: receiving civilization-saving innocence in each birth is worth it all. It was also written that Jesus said he is in the least of these, and as we do to the least of these so we do unto God. This matches a mature level of responsibility with parenthood that makes men better men, or reveals the worst of men in their response to innocence which threatens their egoism.

    I recall Sting’s song about the Cold War, “Mr. Kruschev says, we will bury you, I don’t subscribe to his point of view, It would be such an ignorant thing to do
    If the Russians love their children too..” and how it expressed a geopolitical recognition of the power of the birth of children. Cooler minds prevail when cooled by the dew of innocence and the sweat and labor of women who give life to the world.

    Christian-Ism, an ugly spirit shadowing the people of Israel and those who follow Christ from time immemorial, has persecuted not just Jews, Christians and others, but Innocence itself. For those who believe in God as personal, and God as God because His power is balanced by his childlike innocence, and who believe that no one, not even God could lead unless He led by example, it seems that the ugly spirit would have ethnicities and races blaming one another as a convenient form of camouflage for the true predator — that spirit and its physical impact on earth that wishes the death of innocence in people. The physical death of innocents is designed to destroy belief in innocence. That’s the agenda as I see it.

    If you ask me, the christian-Ism spirit bears the word Christ in name only, using tactics in the land of plenty to try to bury all innocence in materialism. This is aimed at crowding the innocence of God from the human soul. This isn’t Christ doing this, or his small band of de facto followers treading a narrow path in wilderness of this world, it can only be a spirit that utterly and completely hates innocence no matter where it arises. It is a cynical spirit indeed, and I happen to agree with the Genesis account of how it twisted mankind:

    It inserted a falsehood, a lie, into the human mind and / or human genetic sufficiency at some point, so as to make the sufficient human being falsely sense insufficiency. Egotism, pride and avarice are the passionate fires arising from this inchoate, false fear of insufficiency. As a virus, such a lie has replicated itself handily over the eons. Now we struggle to know who is telling us the truth at any given moment.

    You have a strong sense of the truth about the months leading up to Christmas: this kind can only come out by prayer and fasting, and yet, rather than praying and fasting, people are binging on spending, consuming and celebrating an unrepentant existence rather than repenting first then breaking the fast with a joyous, loving feast that is not stressful, but healing and elevating.

    • MikeW,
      You have bowled me over with your knowledge, and your own personal post on this matter. Thank you for sharing — you had much to say and much that I agree with. The innocence of a child is to be cherished, not celebrated with spending.
      I think we each need to find our own means of what “praying and fasting” means to us, though I whole-heartedly agree that buying discounted decorations and fake Santas is not getting us any closer to a sense of wonder, healing, or joy.
      I also like Sting’s lyrics and am glad you included that reference.

      • Ha! Trying to escape credit again! Caught ya. You wrote the post framing the problem to be solved in the present tense. I just wrote a post tying together a lot of reading without remembering all the sources except Sting. I guess that proves me less intellectual and the power of songs to make me remember. Soon my family will be telling me everything in song.

        You are gracious.

      • Am I escaping credit? I think it is you who are too gracious, though I’m not going to say no to your kind compliments.
        Nothing wrong with remembering everything in song. For lack of being able to remember anything current, “Love is all you need.”

  3. I harp on this same subject every year. I saw my first Christmas commercial a few days ago, and even my Kindle had a Christmas ad on it a few days before that. I would like to enjoy Thanksgiving first, then transition over to Christmas. It just gets to be too much.

    • I haven’t seen any Christmas commercials yet — thankfully. That’s getting a big much, though all the flyers coming in the mail are Christmasy now. Definitely I think we should focus on one holiday/event at a time. At least let’s have Thanksgiving before we get too excited and preempt things.

  4. I feel the same way – I generally like to wait until the beginning of December before starting to get into the Christmas groove. We do an advent calendar where each day holds a winter or Christmas related activity including decorating our house and yard, baking, feeding birds, considering families in need, etc. My kids, especially my 5 year old, feel very differently about when to start dreaming of sugarplums! My youngest started talking about Christmas right before sleep on Halloween and the letters to Santa have been pouring out. I don’t mind because her enthusiasm is actually pretty sweet and geniune excitement is hard to come by sometimes…

  5. I think back in the day – my childhood – ah crap…I don’t remember anything about decorations when I was a kid, I didn’t care. I still don’t. I think bringing them out at Thanksgiving is a good time. Its too much pressure. I’m not even sure people who LOVE Christmas like seeing this stuff out this early. Everything is so rushed. Let’s have Halloween. End it. Have Thanksgiving. End that. Then do Christmas. Its not like we can ignore it. Its definitely annoying.tho to start in October. Great pics!!!!

    • Bob Dylan,
      I’m with you to give holidays a more definitive time line. Let’s just get on with it and get it on and over with and then move on. This blurring and mucking about makes it all seems wrong.
      Next we will have ghosts on our Christmas trees. (Ghost of Christmas Past? I guess that almost fits. But no).

  6. This is, I think, my all-time biggest pet peeve. I often wonder how retailers tally their profits for the holiday season — when that season begins in August! Yes, I saw my first splashes of red and green before Labor Day. And I am terrified that in a few weeks, right after Thanksgiving, every radio station will be devoted to 24/7 Christmas music. In the words of Charlie Brown, “Ugh!”

  7. Pingback: Ice breaker: or how a sandwich helped my random comments research « iRuniBreathe

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