I can handle the strangers’ scoffs at holiday decorations at the mall and the Facebook status updates with an angry turkey threatening Santa Claus with a musket and the degrading words, “Back off, Fatty. Wait your turn.” (Which irks me only because the turkey is fat. Stop calling names, oh ye fowl ones!) I don’t even mind when my friends say the clichéd “every year the holidays start sooner and sooner!” (Which, of course they don’t, unless we are talking minutes sooner every year. Then, perhaps you’re right. I’m not that great at math, so I won't fight you.)
But, what I cannot handle, what I refuse to tolerate, is when my own flesh and blood start in on the chorus of decrying the commercialization and timing of Christmas. I blame social media. It’s an easy target people often use (SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE DEVIL!) and one I cringe at often because it is how I make a living. But, dude, put kids on social media even a little and they see that cynical and loathsome humor is celebrated. Kids who hate Mondays, hate school, hate preps, hate jocks, hate goths, hate commercialization, hate anything rather than showing the things that they actually like. These kids often have popular accounts and are showing similar sentiments to some of those feelings your own kids are having. Whatever, I get it. I try to tell my older kids that it is easy to be cynical, anyone can find something they don’t like and talk about it (oh, is that what I am doing in this article? nah.), but it is more difficult and wonderful if you can find things to revel in and enjoy.
My kids and I walked into Target before Halloween and saw that there were a few Christmas items already displayed. “Oh sick,” said one kid. Another joined in with, “Can’t they wait until after Thanksgiving? Why do they have to shove Christmas down our throats so early?” Oh man, who are these people I have raised from my very womb? So I said the kind of thing that I always say, “Don’t sweat it. If you don’t want to buy anything before Thanksgiving, then don’t. If it bothers you, walk away. Some of us like having it available this early.”
Here’s the truth of it all: I used to start listening to Christmas music on September 1st as a child. I am not exaggerating one bit. My birthday is the 31st of August. As soon as my birthday was over, it was the holidays, as far as I was concerned. And I loved Christmas music. My mother had old records of Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams and The Carpenters and I played those for months. The music made me happy and excited. I grew up near Phoenix, so it’s not like it got cold enough to justify a few songs here and there. Nope. I just loved the music.
I would also start making Christmas gifts for my family and friends in September as well. I would make lists of ideas for gifts and start buying the supplies with my babysitting money. I freakin’ loved Christmas. I loved going to the mall just to see the windows and hear the music playing over the loud speakers. And I still do. Except now I am all about Halloween the day after my birthday and I start the Christmas music the first of November. Because I still love it. It makes me happy and dance-y and just a friendlier chick. I am listening to acoustic Christmas as I type and I feel amazing about it. Oh, and the made-for-television Christmas movies? They are so horrible and yet I love them so much. I watch about one a week starting in November. Watched one yesterday, as a matter of fact, while I folded laundry. It was heavenly, even though I figured out the entire plot line and ending in the first five minutes. There were also a massive amount of birds chirping during a few of the winter snow scenes, which only made me love the show more.
So say what you will about Thanksgiving not getting it’s own month. I mean, who cares? I am always baffled that there has to be one or the other. I love Thanksgiving. I even decorate for it. I have one box of Thanksgiving decorations. And about fourteen boxes for Christmas. (Trees and ornaments take up a lot of storage, people!) The two holidays (and Hannukah and Kwanza and all the other end-of-year celebrations) can co-exist. As can we, the early Christmas revelers and the wait-until-after-Thanksgiving folks. If you don’t want to shop for Christmas items, walk away. If you do want to walk the aisles of ornaments and holiday cheer, come with me. Apparently I’m not teaching my kids to want to shop with me this early, anyway!