It’s been “The Holidays” for a few weeks now.
Not complaining, just observing. I don’t need to point out the signs; you’ve seen them yourself.
You may believe that all this Christmas hype points to the commercialization of what used to be a simple holiday, but there are ways to take this in stride. Simply look at the the bright side. I found seven of them.
If you live by the calendar, the later the date of Thanksgiving, the shorter the official holiday season. But you and I both know that it’s in full swing right now. So read on…
The winner for the very best heads-up from a major brand that it’s almost Christmas, came a few days BEFORE Halloween. This savvy company got a jump on all those hasty Back Friday folks with their heartwarming notice that they’d be closed the day after Thanksgiving. You caught the #optoutside campaign, right? It kind of made me want to go outside and oh, I don’t know… shop at REI. Loved that.
There are at least seven things to like about the long holiday season, commercialism aside:
1. The Hallmark Channel’s 24/7 lineup of movies: Now that the weather is iffy and the days are shorter, I like to curl up with a good book — or a cheesy movie. I would enjoy, just once, a surprising departure from the usual Hallmark formula, however. E.g. Girl goes back to the city with rich, creepy guy and spends Christmas Eve drinking too much whiskey and doing regrettable things with strings of Christmas lights… but I suppose there are other channels for that.
2. Crossover Decorations: I talked with my mother the other day. She’s planning a cookie party in early December, so that means she’s decorating now. “It takes so long, I’m doing a little at a time,” she said. She’s in great company.
Adventurous holiday bridge builders now simply blend the fall holidays in with winter holidays and it all works out just fine, as you can see from these tips for upcycling pumpkins into Christmas decorations. Hat tip to Tim Burton for starting this trend so long ago.
3. An Excuse to Party More Often: Is it just me, are are your friends also murmuring over their phones about how few open weekends there are between now and January? I take that as a signal to plan or attend a few more celebratory events over the next couple of months.
4. More opportunities for sales and free shipping: And if you’re a business owner or marketer, there are more opportunities to sell stuff! I’ve received coupons and offers already boasting snowmen and candy canes, 50% off, and free shipping. What’s not to like?
5. Holiday food: Not to be hedonistic, but… now’s the time when all those summer salad recipes get buried under clippings, recipe cards, and Pinterest boards dedicated to comfort food. It doesn’t have to be unhealthy; I’m thinking warm, savory, buttery squashes and soups, roasts and spices… I love winter food, how about you? The long Christmas season means you get to play with all those delicious flavors and specialty items in the grocery stores ASAP. Yum.
6. “Santa’s watching”: I predate the “Elf on the Shelf” craze, which means I still go straight for the big guns, disguised in more mature terms. Yeah, I’m talking about the big fat man himself. Now that my kids know how to add products to their Amazon wish lists, they better be on their best behavior. I saw that new Swagway Scooter the other day… My response: “So how’s that math homework coming tonight?”
And don’t think this doesn’t work after a certain magical age. The best thing about the kids growing older is now they know I’m not as nice as Santa. Lots of bribes; no promises. Look, parents, you’ve got two months to milk this cow.
7. More Time to Give… to the food pantry, send Christmas cards, pack a shoebox for Operation Shoebox, plan your trip, or thaw the turkey. With everyone talking about all you need to be doing, chances are you might actually do them more often, or at least on time! For example, the barrels for canned goods and coats have been out for a couple of weeks now, so it won’t slip my mind at crunch time.
I finally stopped sulking about the gifts I bought, but never got around to putting under the tree at church a few years back. What a dingbat — or just a busy mom, take your pick. When you have the best of intentions, two months is plenty of time to follow a well-laid plan, I should think. But hey, No judgment here.
Fact is, we’re all in this together…
The consumers, the bankers, the farmers, the retailers and the web stores, Amazon, Walmart, the people who work at Amazon and Walmart, the small biz folks, the charities and churches and non profits, the moms and dads trying to sprinkle a little magic in their kids’ lives, and the people who just want Christmas to slip by for one year without fanfare because they’re broke, or lonely, or just tired.
Yes, the holiday season brings a heightened sense of expectation, no matter how you feel about the forced sentiment to ring in cheer. Some people love it, some don’t. But as long as the season takes up a good fifth of the year now, at least you can try to wring out the good.