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It's beginning to look a lot like... 

Thanksgiving morning was always a great time for me as a child. It was a day that my brother and I didn't have to go to school, and our mom did not have to go to work. No waking up early, no rushing to get ready and get out into the cold to make it to school on time. Whenever we did wake up on our own and stumble out into the living room, the day already had a festive feel. Mom was there and she was already busy cooking for the meal to come, or continuing to clean. The house was open and brightly lit, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade was on TV. Thanksgiving morning always began with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. 

We watched as each float, marching band, or super inflated cartoon character came down the street. The hosts would feign surprise to see Snoopy! or Garfield! come around the corner. It was clearly a Thanksgiving holiday, and it had a Thanksgiving feel. Then came the Big Transition. After the Rockettes high kicked, and after the pop star of the year sang, then would come, not the climactic figure, but the transitional figure: Santa Clause. There he was at the tail end of the parade signaling the beginning of the Christmas season. And of course it was the following day, the day after Thanksgiving, that kicked off the Christmas shopping season. Christmas didn't begin until the day after Thanksgiving when Christmas decorations would appear on the sales floor, and Christmas carols played from store speakers. 

In my house as a child, Christmas came even later than that. Since my birthday was on the 14th of December, my mother determined to protect my birthday from being overshadowed by the holiday. There was no tree, decorations, or carols at my house until the day after my birthday, the 15th of December. And that's still early in comparison to earlier traditions. Once upon a time, Santa Clause himself was supposed to have brought not only the presents, but the tree and the decorations to every house as well. It all went up after the kids went to bed on Christmas eve. Talk about last minute. 

Now we have Christmas coming earlier than ever. Holiday commercials, holiday products, and holiday music have all arrived early as retail stores attempt to maximize sales and profits, and promote convenient layaway options for a society with maxed out credit card limits.  

Each of us can turn the phenomena around for ourselves, and maybe we can all do it for each other, and lessen our collective holiday stress. Don't give in to seasonal sprawl. Resist the temptation to start decorating just yet. Of course you love the holiday music and holiday decorations, but leave them in the attic for now. They will be that much more welcome and more treasured when they arrive, and you will have less chance to be totally sick of them before Christmas even arrives. Don't reward stores that foist that artificial feeling of Christmas spirit (you know, that spirit of buying) upon us all. Let's all be thankful first. One holiday at a time please. 

Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 11:51PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | CommentsPost a Comment

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