It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...Christmas?

Nov. 23, 2005, midnight | By Natasha Prados | 18 years, 6 months ago

Claus is coming too early

Walking into the Giant mid-October, looking to purchase some Halloween candy for pre-Halloween taste testing (for the safety of the children, of course), I stopped short. Towering before me was not any sort of ghost, ghoul or goblin or even black and orange banners that might be expected around Halloween. There weren't even any turkeys, pilgrims or traditional Thanksgiving decorations. Instead, I found myself face-to-face with a towering inflatable Santa Claus snow globe.

My first reaction was to backtrack. I looked over my shoulder just to be sure the balmy 70-degree weather wasn't a figment of my imagination. Oddly enough, the sun was shining brightly, and shoppers were strolling about in t-shirts. Yet here was Santa, with a backdrop of a Christmas tree while electric fan-propelled fake snow sprinkling over him.

Christmas decorations didn't used to go up until after Thanksgiving. Granted, stores were usually decked out in green and red the second families everywhere labeled turkeys as leftovers, but at least no one was mixing holidays.

Today, consumers have no such luxury. We no longer get the pleasure of experiencing each holiday individually. Profit-hungry corporations are starting Christmas before trick-or-treaters open up their first candy wrapper. Christmas trees are up everywhere and my Thanksgiving turkey is still frozen.

We are accosted by reindeer, mistletoe and evergreens before fresh cranberry sauce stains adorn the table all for one simple reason: Americans are big spenders when it comes to Christmas.

We are suckers for holiday sales. We buy cheap lights, sappy hallmark cards, holographic gift paper, pretty ribbons, hot gifts and flimsy garlands. And they know it, and by "they" I mean marketing executives and the companies that employ them. They are the metaphorical Ebenezer Scrooges of the world. Sure, they don't look like Oscar the Grouch, but their greed is transforming Christmas into a meaningless, material extravaganza. Christmas is becoming increasingly like a bloodthirsty linebacker, just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting consumers. The holiday is growing more and more menacing, like that scaly, jagged-toothed, drool-y monster in Star-Wars that nearly eats Luke. Commercialism is turning my beloved holiday over to the darkside.

Christmas is no longer just about mom's chocolate-chip cookies, it's about the smell of Nestle Tollhouse dark chocolate chip quick bake cookies or Pillsbury's specially shaped holiday cookies.

I suppose consumers should be thankful that stores are gracious enough to wait until after summer ends to encourage Christmas purchases. That no one sends robotic Santa Clauses running after parents at back-to-school sales urging them to get ready for Christmas. I know I'm thankful (tough having such low expectations depresses me).

But once, just once, I'd like to walk into the grocery store at Thanksgiving and "gasp" actually see Thanksgiving decorations. Even more outrageous, I want to see Halloween decorations on Halloween. Not some black and orange banners and some Christmas trees. The only things I want to see are spooky costumes, jack-o-lanterns and candy. Halloween candy.

Natasha Prados. More »

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