I love the holidays, but I swear if we’re not careful, our kids are going to think jack-o-lanterns say ho-ho-ho.
What is going on lately?
I can’t believe it’s Christmas again already, says the woman holding the mini Mrs. Claus pajamas at Carters.
Um, it’s October.
Dear Santa, can I please have the rest of 2018 back?
When I was a kid, the holidays had boundaries. You had to yank the tack, pull down the calendar and flip the page to move from one holiday to the next. Seasonal décor used to be in stores by season, now it’s in stores by aisle. I walked into Michael’s the other day looking for a spider web. I had to hike through fake fir trees and past pilgrims to find one, and it was on the sale rack. It was October 8th.
Nothing ever used to go on sale before the holiday it was meant for. Sales were always the day after the holiday when you got to purchase items at like 30% off and save them for the following year. You’d feel super good about yourself, proudly tuck it all away somewhere safe and then totally forget you ever bought anything.
No one ever shopped on Thanksgiving, because nothing was open. You just ate all day. That’s it. Even if you forgot something you really needed, no matter how essential, you just went without it or you knocked on a neighbor’s door, even if it was the turkey.
The day after Thanksgiving, you got to roll out of bed to find Christmas had magically descended into stores like winter’s first snowfall. Only then did you start to count down the days till Christmas, and there was still plenty of time to stress over your lists and spend way too much money on things no one needed. It was tradition to rub elbows with the rest of the world at the mall and frantically shop up until the very last minute on Christmas Eve when you blissfully ran.out.of.time.
Because once upon a time, it ended. The stores closed. You went home, and, like it or not, shopping was done.
Things have changed.
I just heard Black Friday is no longer seeing record sales. Why? Because now Black Friday begins on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and lasts through New Years. Now everyone can shop on their smartphones while we shove turkey dinner into our faces and then head out with apple pie in to-go bags to hit every store that has to be open on Thanksgiving in order to compete with Amazon.
Or… how ’bout we don’t.
Holidays break up the year into pieces kids can digest and later recollect when they’re old like us. The calendar still separates them; we can too.
At our house, we’ve started a tradition of kicking off the holidays on the 1st day of the month they are in no matter what the stores are screaming.
On October 1st, we have our spooky “Halloween kickoff” party. Halloween pajamas come out and we decorate the entire house.
This year we dined on “eye” meatballs dipped in blood fondue and decorated pumpkin cupcakes while the caldron smoked and our necklaces glowed. Then for 30 days, we read Halloween books, eat ghost and goblin pancakes for breakfast and think of new decorations to scare Papa.
The spiders and bats won’t come down until November 1st when the turkeys take over and we shove the pumpkins into pies. Then on December 1st, a tree gets chopped down and planted in our living room with a smell that literally brings Christmas home.
Until then, Happy Hallo-thanks-mas to all, and to all a good night.