Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can look forward to the holidays and hang that fragrant wreath, string those twinkling lights and pursue wacky gifts. But due to the pandemic, our celebrations are subdued, so let’s make the most of this unwelcome pause and take a moment to reflect.
For many, this is our favorite time of year. We love chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at our nose.
Oops. Wrong place.
What’s nagging at me is watching the holiday season start earlier and earlier, on the continent for sure, but also here in the islands. So please don’t tell me that you begin decking the halls or shopping for presents before Thanksgiving or else you’ll get stink eye. And if you do, I invite you to ponder possible reasons for these unholy urges to file away for next year.
In Seattle, one of my go-to radio stations started playing holiday music at the beginning of November. But who wants to hear “The First Noel” on Veterans Day or “Jingle Bells” before turkey and pumpkin pie? Not me.
My way to protest the premature playing of Christmas songs was to boycott that oldies-but-goodies station until the new year. Take that, you jump-the-gunners! And I was equally annoyed when I went to buy Halloween treats and saw the Christmas decorations going up. I’m looking for candy corn, not candy canes.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the manic activities leading up to these holidays are all about merchandising and shopping. That would explain why there’s no similar frenzy for the Fourth of July where we can hardly muster a parade.
You’d think the country’s birthday would be cause for big-time celebration, but there is none, and perhaps it’s because no one shops for the Fourth. Even if you’re obsessed with the American flag, you only need one unless you’re flying them from every corner of your big truck.
I’ve also observed patriots wearing red, white and blue outfits on that day, along with star-spangled earrings and striped baseball caps, but then, those go back into storage for another year. So July Fourth. Meh.
With no reason for shopping rampages in the summer, we hear diabolical suggestions to start our Christmas spending in August and avoid the December rush. I fell for that once, making my list, checking it twice, and headed to the mall. When I got home, I congratulated myself to be almost done with holiday shopping and stored everything in a secret hiding place. But three months later, when it was time to wrap gifts, I had either changed my mind about that robe for my grandmother or I couldn’t find it.
Christmas shopping in the summer was good for merchants but bad for me because I was forced to buy twice. And now I’m reading about attempts to move Black Friday, the beginning of the holiday shopping season, from the day after Thanksgiving to before Turkey Day.
We’ve all watched nightmare scenes of unruly mobs fighting each other at 6 a.m. for a big screen TV. So let’s start that lunacy earlier, why don’t we. The thought of it drives me nuts.
The holidays are a special part of the year, and perhaps there are those who wish they could last longer. But an early start to setting the stage and spending only dilutes the excitement and anticipation. How about we resist the urge to decorate like a maniac and shop till we drop?
Then, when our sacred days arrive, we can be sane and solvent.
Rochelle delaCruz was born in Hilo, graduated from Hilo High School, then left to go to college. After teaching for 30 years in Seattle, Wash., she retired and returned home to Hawaii. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears every other Monday.