Stop Shoving the Holiday Season Down my Throat in the Middle of Summer
Let’s see. It’s the 25th of July. Hot as hell. My grass is brown, a lot of my flowers are spent, although many are still blooming. Summer is in full flush, and the grass at my local park (where my taxes do a terrific job of supporting the dense, cool, green fur and tall shade trees) is a perfect place to waddle the bull dog. She doesn’t run. In this heat, neither do I.
I took a detour on the way home on a main road, and my eye was drawn, as it inevitably is, by a huge orange sign announcing……
Um, NO. COME ON MAN.
It’s goddamned SUMMER. For crying out loud.
However, it’s that time of year again. That time when retailers start shoveling holiday spirit at us like so much manure in order to fertilize our wallets for the season, which is still many months away.
Can we please outlaw the holidays until the holidays actually get here?
K-Mart, which is a dying company anyway, in a recent year began advertising Christmas layaway in summer. First of all I don’t know anyone who shops at Kmart any more, and really? Honestly? https://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/no-one-cares-kmart-anymore.html/ Not a whole of a lot of us. “Attention K-Shoppers” has become a comedic tag line for a reason. The announcement rings out through an empty store, the revolving blue light shining on….kinda nobody. K-mart was bought by Sears, which everyone knows is SUCH successful concern these days, taking the once-venerated and high-quality brand Land’s End with them. Remember those superb quality turtlenecks? Yah. They went the way of the endless return policy at LL Bean.
Christmas in summer at K-Mart? Clearly the strategy didn’t work, as they and many other big box stores and malls are going the way of the dodo bird. Santa impersonators all over America are going to be hard-pressed to find new gigs when the local malls get turned into senior centers. I’m sure Trump can find them work handing out pieces of candy to all the folks who have lost their farms, jobs, went bankrupt due to lack of health care…but I digress.
It is quite bad enough after we enter adulthood that the months go by so fast that by the time you realize it’s nearly August, spring didn’t even register. Shit. Wasn’t it just May??? Such is getting old(er). It takes so long to get up and get going we’re into next week before we got ready for Monday morning in the first place.
In no time, it will be football, which also lasts six months. I used to like football a lot until that too became a feeding frenzy of some 65 pre-season games, so much so that by the time the season started I was already exhausted. Does nobody understand moderation? Given the excrescence that the Super Bowl has become, what a foolish question. Although last year’s was a genuinely good game. For a change. At least for my money any game that doesn’t feature the Patriot a**holes is a good Superbowl. But then, that’s just me. No apologies to Pats fans, I hate them with a vengeance which is very un-Patriotic, especially after Tom Brady came out in support of the Orange Fool.
What I don’t enjoy is having Santa shoved at me so early in the year that by the time December arrives, I can’t stand another single note of Merry Music and could care less if the old man scorched his tush on the way down the chimney. He’s been bought and sold beginning with the Coke (America’s favorite poison) commercials in the 1920s, and since then he’s sold cars and electronics and every kind of stupid junk(cigarettes anyone?) you can imagine. He’s been reduced to a feckless shill for the retail vermin.
The actual “Santa” was a St. Nicolas, a 4th Century, dark-skinned Middle Eastern Muslim man born into considerable wealth in what is modern-day Turkey. He converted to Christianity, and as the story goes, began the legend by tossing monetary gifts into the houses of those in need. A REAL saint, in other words. He gave away his entire fortune to those who really did need help, such was his fervent belief in the tenets of Christianity. https://www.biography.com/people/st-nicholas-204635. Today’s Church could learn a thing or two from this guy. Oh, but my heavens, he was brown, we can’t have that. Santa is supposed to be WHITE, especially after Western Christians got hold of the poor bastard.
I hate to inform the incorrigibly uninformed but both the original St. Nick and Christ were dark-skinned Middle Easterners who, if they showed up at anyone’s house in a the middle of a snow storm in an American suburb, would be promptly shot as terrorists. But I digress.
The true St. Nick’s generosity is a little hard to square with Black Friday and its hundreds of iterations, with people attacking each other over big screen TVs and practically wiping out security guards situated at the door to create some semblance of order. The orgy that is the seasonal buying frenzy is an embarrassment, most particularly in those countries where we sent our trash, not our help, for poverty-stricken kids to pore over and be poisoned by (https://www.revealnews.org/episodes/americas-digital-dumping-ground/).
China has said it will put an end to this, and publicly it has, but still, Santa’s castoffs did a lot of damage for many, many years. Such is our economy. Every year we just have to have new crap, and our old crap has to go somewhere. Our trash is someone else’s toxic treasure, that which we haven’t dumped into our rivers, lakes and oceans, and the backyards of those too poor to fight City Hall. Our economy doesn’t value thrift. It values excessive spending, acquisition of genuine moronic junk, and our castoffs have to be cast off to other countries. Merry Christmas!
Our economy would simply collapse if not for the big fat man pushing retail sales, of more! Better! Faster! Cooler! Eighty-thousand-dollar sneakers with flashing blue LED lights!https://stockx.com/nike-air-mag-back-to-the-future-bttf-2016?gclid=Cj0KCQjwv-DaBRCcARIsAI9sba-CbB5051-Q_Gy3l4EYaEtqYUdQumjUvwQrP0PDezhCHfIXxD-PQOAaAloXEALw_wcB. A five-thousand-dollar baby pram that you don’t need to push! http://www.madeformums.com/reviews-and-shopping/10-of-the-most-expensive-luxury-pushchairs/32220.html. A fifty-two -thousand-dollar golf cart so that you don’t have to walk! https://successstory.com/spendit/most-expensive-golf-carts. Forty-five thousand dollar chess sets! https://www.etsy.com/listing/511614856/tigrani-amazonsterling-silver-chess-set?gpla=1&gao=1&utm_campaign=shopping_us_TigraniSilver_sfc_osa&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_custom1=0&utm_content=14316194&gclid=Cj0KCQjwv-DaBRCcARIsAI9sba-8uBnosHhYuojQoOOnqyBZmo6sr6hes-WjWOD-MlZb3zFhmzcu_7AaAs2pEALw_wcB. A small island in the Pacific!! (Buy now before it disappears underwater- flood sale pricing available)
START LAYING AWAY NOW CHRISTMAS WILL BE HERE IN NO TIME!!!
Yeah, tell me about it.
It’s bad enough that we’ve turned Santa into a jerk, checking his cell phone for long periods of time while little kids are made to wait. Now Santa is an a**hole just like the rest of us. Where on earth do marketing people get these vicious ideas, slathering Santa with the same brand fecal matter as they do everything else? Bad Santa is real and coming to a neighborhood near you. If you need a reminder of how awful some of these commercials are, just Google the “Game On, Santa” ads from Best Buy a few years back. Let’s shame Santa, shall we? After all, where is there a place for goodness and generosity in our economy, especially with the Grinch for President?
Hey. Call me old-fashioned.
Santa is an idea. In my living room I have an antique rocking horse with a hand embroidered pillow around its neck: Believe. To me it’s the beating heart of generosity, the care with which we consider those we love, and think about the one thing that would bring a smile to that person. Not excess. But a truly thoughtful gift. For a fine example of that beating heart, read The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry. It’s a heartbreaker, but it speaks directly to the whole point of what gift giving is all about. Rather than out-spend, out-impress, out-do and go broke trying to show off your wad, how about we just hang out, hang up our cell phones and actually talk to each other this year? It’s cheap and might even be fun for a change. Imagine. Sitting around at a holiday feast and actually talking to each other. We might even start a brand new tradition. You might even be a little startled to discover you actually have children.
“Um, whose kid are you? Mine? What’s your name, kid? Sean? You got ID to prove it? I don’t recall seeing you around here.”
Let’s be clear: Saint Nicolas was real. And he stood for something: humility, generosity, goodness, charity. Those have been lost for a long time in the effort to pick the public’s pockets as much as possible, for as long as possible. There’s nothing in the latter endeavor that speaks to generosity, or common sense, or why there is such a season to begin with. First of all, most biblical scholars agree that Christ wasn’t born on December 25th, and perhaps not even in year 1. https://www.livescience.com/42976-when-was-jesus-born.html. Nobody has a true clue. The celebration was adopted from non-believers (sorry, I won’t stoop to calling them “pagans”) to get them to climb aboard the conversion train. To wit:
Researchers believe the Roman Catholic Church settled on Dec. 25 for many reasons, such as that date’s ties to the winter solstice and Saturnalia, a festival dedicated to the Roman deity Saturn. By choosing this day to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, the church could co-opt the popular pagan festival, as well as the winter celebrations of other pagan religions.
Tricky huh? If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Besides, these so-called “pagans” had LOTS more fun during their annual celebrations (including a ton of sex, which is why summer was such a boon time). After a few generations nobody remembers that somebody else’s holiday got co-opted by people with a much larger personal agenda. The Church was very adept at this kind of strategy. It still is. That’s how we got Easter, too. Just read your religious history (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-15/the-origins-of-easter-from-pagan-roots-to-chocolate-eggs/8440134). It’s a great deal of smoke and mirrors in the process of getting people to do what others wanted. Today, we’re manipulated into spending vastly too much of our hard-won and limited cash to appease the gods of the Holidays. Doing what others want us to do: spend our little hearts out. The Great American Sport. Using our platinum credit cards to buy a bag of Cheese Doodles and spend an additional 18% on our purchase. It’s the American Way.
While I understand the need for the retail sales to help companies survive, I am done rewarding them for forcing me to ogle holiday snowballs while the earth is on fire from heat waves. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/22/heatwave-northen-hemisphere-uk-algeria-canada-sweden-whats-the-cause. I resent the intrusion of The Buying Season into my life when I’m still guzzling gallons of water in near-100 degree heat. While I might moon for a little snow, I’m not quite ready to forfeit the still lush green trees of my back yard. Besides, for so many of us, the holidays are when we throw out all inhibitions, eat like banshees, gain weight and spend the rest of the year letting out our belts, complaining about our waistlines, and looking forward to another six months of eating whatever we damned well please because after all, it’s the holiday season.
Six months out of the year.
The simple truth is that I’m hardly alone in this feeling. It’s not just that as a Baby Boomer, the Thanksgiving’s Day Parade kicked off the holiday season in earnest with the arrival of Santa at the end of the Macy’s Parade. No more. Now most outlets start before Halloween has even come and gone. That’s worse than the requisite scary movies. And the retail sales numbers don’t back up this strategy. More and more of us balk. Many people I know have begun to refuse to shop at places that toss out the tinsel too early. https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/marketing/christmas-creep-comes-earlier-every-year-and-for-no-good-reason/. Besides, it takes so long to set up all the decorations, and then promptly bring them down after the New Year celebration that millions of us leave all the lights up all year long. I once had- and I’m not making this up-thirty-five of those huge storage boxes of Christmas decorations. It took me fully three days to do the whole house. I had to sleep for a week after all that. Yet I lived alone. Honestly? Really? Nobody ever came by, there was no holiday dinner, and I worked my butt off to decorate? I worshipped at the altar of consumerism…and my bank account baked in hell because of it. In fact my purse still bears the scorch marks.
There is absolutely no magic in a season that effectively last six months out of the year. I find that going abroad refreshes my memory of what real holidays look like, feel like, and the sense that there is a time for everything. Christmas doesn’t start in the middle of summer. However, given climate change, in no time there will be no more North Pole to speak of, we’re going to have to come up with a whole other version of the big fat man. He may have to go on unemployment until we can find proper housing, which, with luck, will include a barn with air conditioning for the livestock. And fake snow. We’re adept at fake shit (fake dog poop, anyone?)in this country, along with cinnamon-flavored toothpaste and toilet paper with faces on it so you can crap on those you hate. We are ever so creative.
Besides, Halloween is fast outpacing Christmas for America’s favorite holiday. Here’s a GREAT treatise on why: https://thoughtcatalog.com/sandeep-gourkanti/2013/10/20-reasons-why-halloween-is-better-than-other-holidays/. I particularly like #12, “we get to vandalize things.” In fact it’s expected. It’s the only time of year when we can justify dressing up like idiots, stealing candy from our kids and waking up the next morning awkwardly entwined with some foul-smelling, big, fat, bloated bastard in a leather bunny suit with a Trump mask on.
Holy shit. That IS Trump. And Putin is spooning him from behind. Now that’s a horror show, only it’s real.
But don’t worry. He’ll wake up in time to be the Grinch. He already stole Christmas. He’s just coming back to steal the rest of the candy from the kids. And the rest of us. After all, that’s the holiday spirit.
I think I’ll skip the holidays this year, thanks.