November 20, 2008

The horrors of Christmas creep

It's time to speak out against Christmas creep on television and in the grocery store. This year the commercial world was starting to shove carols and candy canes down our throats before the Halloween candy had even been sold. Every year, Christmas comes to retail way too early. And it has to stop. It's the 12 days of Christmas, not the 12 months.

I realize that by speaking out against Christmas creep before Black Friday -- the day I believe it becomes OK to get in the Holiday spirit -- I'm contributing to the very phenomenon I've decided to slay. But something has to be done, and I fear no one will care about the dangers if I wait until we pass the point where Christmas-related commerce is obviously acceptable.

We're in danger of losing Thanksgiving this year. The Price Chopper where I shop has a bigger Christmas section than it does Thanksgiving section. Think about that for a minute. Thanksgiving -- the holiday associated with eating, where grocery stores get to sell turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and potatoes and pie and all sorts of good things, is being consumed by Christmas, which is publicly associated with Santa Claus, presents, decorated trees and toy trains.

Now, you might say that there's plenty of eating at Christmas. Lots of people have a big dinner on Christmas with ham or turkey or goose and trim it with all the things I listed for Thanksgiving. You could even say Santa Claus likes Christmas cookies, so who can blame the grocery stores for hyping up all the Christmas food over the Thanksgiving meal.

But try this test. What is the first image that comes to mind when I say "Thanksgiving?" Turkey. What is the first image that comes to mind when I say "Christmas" or "Holiday Season?" It might be presents, snow or church, but I bet it isn't food.

There's something perverse about a grocery store pushing Christmas more than Thanksgiving. And I'm not anti-Christmas. I love the season as much as anyone -- just after Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving, I'll be listening to some Christmas carols. I even like to leave the decorations up for months after Dec. 25, and believe taking them down before Boxing Day is akin to treason.

There are some other wonderful holidays and fall seasons we're missing in the rush to deck the halls. Oktoberfest shouldn't be held in front of a fully trimmed tree. Trick-or-treaters shouldn't be approaching houses with inflatable Santas on their porches. And the Thanksgiving table shouldn't be decorated with a Poinsettia.

Call me a Scrooge, but Christmas creep gets a resounding zero sporks out of five. Heck, I'll give it a Thanksgiving-esque two drumsticks down, too.

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