If it’s Thanksgiving, can Christmas be far behind? Or does Christmas now start before Thanksgiving? Somehow I think it does.
At least a week before turkey day, or perhaps even more, as I innocently approached my local supermarket, I thought I heard the rather loud clanging of a bell. At first I thought it was someone’s cell phone. Poor guy, I thought, he must be really hard of hearing to have his ring tone up so high. Or perhaps it was a fire drill? It was 85 degrees and I was in Florida. Can you blame me for not thinking about “Ho Ho Ho?”But sure enough, there she was. The lady with the red stocking cap, sweat pouring from her brow, imploring us, in the spirit of the season, to deposit coins in her
But sure enough, there she was. The lady with the red stocking cap, sweat pouring from her brow, imploring us, in the spirit of the season, to deposit coins in her cauldron.
“The Season!” Why am I never quite prepared for this? Could it be because I exist in a subconscious state of denial about what will happen when my calendar flips from October to November? Surely I’ve been alive long enough to become wary sometime around Halloween. Or am I lulled into forgetfulness now that I live in the Sunshine State, where the closest thing to a snowflake is the white color of a golf ball?
The truth is I hate this time of year. And my irritability seems to increase in direct proportion to the number of candles on my birthday cake. An annual sense of dread overtakes me when I realize I can no longer escape the inescapable joy of the whole thing.
I think the way Christmas has been commercialized is the crassest representation of this country, second only to Las Vegas. I shouldn’t care. It’s not even my holiday. But whether I claim it or not, it doesn’t prevent my senses from being assaulted just about everywhere I turn.
You might say it’s sour grapes. And it’s true that as a kid growing up Jewish in a Catholic neighborhood, I did suffer from crèche envy. But I’ve long gotten over that, as well as the fact that my childhood home had no chimney.
Rather, it’s all that phony cheer and forced good will, and the fact that I’m compelled to listen to recycled Christmas music in every store, every restaurant, every public place you can think of, including rest rooms. And if I have to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” one more time, I will personally push Jimmy Stuart off that bridge.
And the relentless, ridiculous TV commercials? When was the last time you received a Mercedes-Benz as a gift? And if you did, was it wrapped with the bow?
I detest that urgent call to buy, as if it was a violation of the Patriot Act to donate to a charity instead of purchasing useless gifts. Black Friday begins on Thursday. Cyber Monday begins on Saturday. My birthday is in February – will someone decide to move it to December? At this age, I can’t afford to be rushed like that.
Each year I entertain a fantasy about running off to a place where no one has ever heard of Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, and remaining there until at least December 30th, just to play it safe. But I’m not sure such a place exists anymore, at least not where my frequent flyer miles will be honored.
So instead I’m contemplating the construction of an underground shelter, or perhaps a safe room. I shall entomb myself there in early November, and you can pass me my Thanksgiving dinner through a slot in the door. I will consider emerging on New Year’s Day, by which time, hopefully, my husband will have disposed of all the holiday cards, photos (except my grandchildren’s), and heart-warming family year-end letters.
And all of this madness is supposed to be commemorating the birth of a key religious figure? You tell me, what would Jesus do?
And while you’re thinking about that, did you know that there is reason to believe that Jesus, was not, in fact, actually born on December 25th? Don’t take my word for it. Go ask Reverend Google.
Legend has it that he was born in the winter in Bethlehem, his birth heralded by a shepherd sitting on a hill tending his flock, who saw an unusually bright star in the sky. (Perhaps this was the first sighting of an alien space ship, and it actually took place in Roswell, New Mexico. Just sayin’.)
The reality is that a December night in Bethlehem is hardly conducive to hill-sitting, since it is cold and wet at the time of the year, and no shepherd worth his staff would plant his butt on the ground. Even the sheep were kept in shelters.
Instead, it is conjectured that Christmas as a birthday celebration is all wrong, and Jesus might actually have been born in warmer weather, say around August or early September.
But despite my intense seasonal displeasure, I dread the thought that this might be so. Because if it is, then heaven forbid, there goes Labor Day!