An early arrival of Christmas couldn’t hurtPublished 12:33pm Saturday, November 5, 2011
Column: Pass the Hot Dish
Oh, the angry exclamations I heard on Nov. 1 , when I walked into Kowalski’s market and came eye to elf and face to Santa with the most garish, prematurely sparkly Christmas display I’d ever seen.
“My Jack-o-lantern isn’t rotten yet,” said the lady next to me.
“I haven’t even decided to serve turkey or Cornish game hens for Thanksgiving,” said the woman next to her.
“We need to put a stop to this,” I told them. “We’ll protest. We’ll occupy something. Give me your lipstick. We’ll scrawl a clever slogan across this nativity scene. How about, ‘The only wise men in November are pilgrims!’”
Well, how did I do? Was my indignation convincing? I really tried. Now do you want to know what actually happened?
I walked into Kowalski’s. There were a couple of women standing around the silver and red Christmas display. “Lovely,” the lady next to me said. “So cheerful,” said the woman next to her. “It’s beauuuutiful!” I replied, stretching out my words luxuriously and swooning a little. I walked out with a silver tabletop tree that looked like something Uncle Bill might have brought home for the kids on “Family Affair.”
When I got home I put the mod little Spruce on my kitchen table and turned on the Sounds of the Seasons music channel. Johnny Mathis was singing, “It’s that time of year when the world falls in love. Every song you hear seems to say, Merry Christmas. May your new year dreams come true.”
Maybe the world will fall in love and maybe our dreams will come true, I thought as I gave myself permission to twirl around the room a little. Those things are a lot easier to believe at Christmastime, and maybe that’s why I don’t mind if it starts a few weeks early.
Now, friends, Yuletide trappings bring out the idealist in me, but I’m not naïve. I know the reason Christmas starts earlier each year is because retailers want us to shop. The intention behind hauling out the holly and piping Bing Crosby over the sound system in November is to get us to spend more money over a longer period of time.
The thing to remember is that an intention is only as powerful as the reception it receives. We don’t have to whip out the credit card every time we hear “White Christmas.” Just because Bing sings an awfully convincing “Mele Kalikimaka” doesn’t mean Dad needs three sweaters instead of one. Truth be told, he probably doesn’t even want one.
These extra weeks would be better spent with our families and friends. We can eat more cookies, hide a little more of Aunt Emma’s fruitcake under the table, and get a little tipsier on Mom’s eggnog. My mother makes eggnog so strong after one cup I can light the Yule log just by breathing on it. To me, that’s Christmas, the family part, not the tipsy part. Oh, let’s face it; they so often go hand in hand.
I know not everybody celebrates Christmas, and ’tis not the season to get greedy with the peace on earth and goodwill toward men and ladies. So come on, Kwanzaa! Hurry up, Hanukkah! Party on, winter solstice revelers! There’s no reason why everybody’s celebrations can’t linger a little longer than usual.
Sure hastening our winter holidays may steal some thunder from Thanksgiving, but really, how exciting is Thanksgiving? Personally, it’s never been the same since I married a vegetarian. The fact is Christmas in November isn’t going away so we might as well try to enjoy it.
The whole country is in a lousy mood lately. A few extra weeks looking at twinkle lights couldn’t hurt. If no one can see eye to eye, let’s hang mistletoe over everyone and make them see lip to lip. It’s worth a try.
Remember the way Auntie Mame summoned the Christmas spirit? It was November and she didn’t care. She sang, “For I’ve grown a little leaner, grown a little colder, grown a little sadder, grown a little older, and I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder. I need a little Christmas now.” There was a lot of truth to those words for her. There’s a lot of truth to them for many of us.
Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and her blog is Radishes at Dawn at alexandrakloster.com.