The older I get, the more the holidays have become a blur. What used to be my favorite time of the year is now nothing more than a watered-down marketing and sales push, and it tends to bring out the worst in people.
I grew up believing that the holiday season started the moment that Santa Claus arrived in Herald Square at the end of the Macy’s Parade. Even though department stores started putting up holiday stuff in November, it was in preparation for the day after Thanksgiving.
The new norm is that holiday decorations must be put up before Halloween (as Halloween decorations are displayed before Labor Day), and that holiday commercials and holiday music start at 12:01am on November 1st. When it’s still 75° and sunny in DC, and I’m hearing Let It Snow while driving around in the convertible, something seems incredibly wrong about that scenario.
I realize the impact of the pandemic (and Amazon) on the retail industry. When I was a manager for JCPenney in the 90’s, they used to reserve the first Saturday in November as their “Biggest Sale of the Year”….now it seems like they’re doing this every couple of weeks, just to stay afloat. Most people have just about all of their holiday shopping done. Although I don’t wait until December 24th to do my shopping, there’s still something special to me about going to the mall in December to do some of my shopping (where I can also get it gift wrapped, as I suck at wrapping presents).
I’m sure people will be camping in tents in front of electronics stores before Thanksgiving, so that they’ll be first in line when the stores open. Is missing the holiday with family and friends now secondary to getting your hands on the newest video games? And is being open all day on Thanksgiving worth it, for the sake of turning a profit over the previous year?
All this aside, I have one holiday pet peeve that drives me batshit crazy, and I’ll put this in the form of a question: how many holidays are in December? Besides Christmas, there’s Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Nicholas Day and Boxing Day. It irritates me to no end, when people feel the need to correct others who say “Happy Holidays” with “No, it’s Merry Christmas”. Seriously, are you so closed-minded that you can’t recognize other religions except your own? As I’m inspired by Festivus, I’m introducing a new holiday tradition….as December 10th is an approximate halfway point between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I hereby declare this day as “STFU Day”, where if someone corrects you for saying Happy Holidays, you are free and clear to respond “Shut the f&$k up! And hey, Happy Holidays!” I know I’ll be more than doing my part to celebrate this new holiday this year….perhaps I can get Samuel Jackson to do a commercial?
On a serious note, I do wish everyone health and happiness through the rest of 2021….perhaps as we continue to head towards a semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy, we can bring back the sense of tradition as well.
Perhaps I should start digging out my St. Patrick’s Day stuff for January?