One holiday at a time, please

It’s Halloween night; so naturally, I find I’m a little sick of Christmas commercials.

Not even lying.

christams-fries
Merry Christmas!

This weekend, in the midst of a marathon horror movie session, I got just a bit tired of watching Best Buy’s Christmas commercials. Apparently, nothing says Christmas like going into debt to buy another meaningless gadget.

Unless it’s Rent-A-Center’s new living room or dining room ensemble. God knows your family will look down their nose at you if you don’t have the newest sofa, or the perfect dining room table with that extendable leaf.

And major retailers weren’t the only ones in on the Holiday Cheer. Cable channels got their Ho Ho Ho on too… The Food Network was already promoting its Christmas baking competitions – the ones where you too can feel inadequate over brownies, cookies and themed cakes you never knew anyone wanted or needed.

And The Hallmark Channel was gleefully showing “Love’s Christmas Journey” and “Hitched for the Holidays,” among about a million other sappy syrupy sweet movies where everything ends happily in a quiet snowfall that makes you want to curl up in your snuggy with hot chocolate and a peppermint stick.

Bleah.

IT’S HALLOWEEN FOR CRIPES SAKE!!!!

This is not the time for glittery white snow or elaborately decorated cakes or even sappy feel-good movies.

StampaThis is the time for scare-me-out-of-my-pants horror movies, binge eating trick or treat candy and dressing up like something other than yourself. This is the time to be lost in the crisp cool air hitting your face while leaves crunch underfoot and the smell of burnt pumpkins as candles sear the insides of jack o’lanterns permeates the air. That’s my kind of pumpkin spice.

This is the time for fake blood, pasty grey skin and fake teeth that mimic anything from a witch, to a zombie to a dead illegal voter.

Can we not, for once, just celebrate one holiday at a time though?

I went to the store on the way home this afternoon and all the Halloween candy was gone.

All.

Gone.

Okay, there were some orange pumpkin peeps and blackberry cobbler candy corn, but who wants to hand that out to a trick or treater? Can you say “Egg me, please!”???

In its place was an aisle of candy canes, egg nog, gingerbread flavored biscotti and snowmen Tic Tac dispensers.

I preferred the Halloween themed orange monster Tic Tac holder. But then again, Trump was probably still on the campaign trail…

gingerdead_man_3_saturday_night_cleaverAt least the guys at the cable channel El Rey got it right by running “Gingerdead Man III, Saturday Night Cleaver” a horror movie about a killer cookie come to life who travels back in time to the 1970s to wreak havoc at a roller skating rink.

I’m not sure whether I’m impressed by the melding of the two holidays, or of the fact that more than one of these movies was actually made. There were four in fact. Proof positive that people will watch anything…even Christmas commercials in July.

Why, I have to ask retailers, do you insist on putting out Christmas decorations in August? Do you think we don’t KNOW Christmas is coming? Do you think we’ve somehow forgotten that we’re supposed to be budgeting to spend a small fortune on presents that will be forgotten, broken or out of fashion come February?

(Note to friends who don’t follow the news – Pokemon Go is dead and a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 should only be given to those you really want to burn your bridges with… literally)

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend on average more than $935 this holiday season. In their opinions, we (the public) need holiday commercials because our minds are way too concerned with the election to pay any attention to the holidays right now.
“Everywhere you turn — whether you’re picking up a newspaper or watching television — political advertisements are taking up ad space that retailers typically use to get holiday shopping on the minds of consumers across the country,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Once the election has passed, we anticipate consumers will pull themselves out of the election doldrums and into the holiday spirit.”

REALLY???? ct-debate-prep-clinton-vs-trump-20160827

Do you think we’ve forgotten that there are major holidays that don’t revolve around this fiasco of an election? Do you honestly think we’re all not frantically looking for an excuse to NOT think about who is running for President?

I think that’s what Halloween is FOR!

I mean, sure… getting scared by a flesh-craving zombie may be scary, but not half as much as the idea that one of these people will actually become president on Nov. 9.

We need scary movies and cute trick or treaters and eerie music to take our minds off of the horrors that the first post-election days will surely bring. Subconsciously, I think, scares remind us what we’re all really thankful for – family, friends, full-sized Snickers bars from the good neighborhoods and clown-proof security systems.

But NO! You all have to fill your shelves with sugarplums and wreaths and jingle bells.

My husband went into Party City and Michael’s on Oct. 21 to buy Halloween decorations for our Zombie Pub Crawl.

There weren’t any.

easy-fun-crafts-to-do-at-homeThey had all been replaced by Christmas decorations and craft supplies.

Then again, we bought some of our Halloween decorations in August, right around the time we should have been shopping for back-to-school, so we should have been prepared.

But aren’t we missing something?

It’s bad enough that we’re practically skipping Halloween to market Christmas, but have we all forgotten there’s another holiday in there that needs attention too?

What the heck happened to Thanksgiving?

thanksgiving-hero-banner-091316You know, turkey, family, football – all the good stuff that we really need now more than ever?  I haven’t even started to stress that my house won’t look like a Norman Rockwell picture after I spend six hours in the kitchen to make a dinner that will last about 15 minutes before everyone goes back to video games and football yet and you want me to fret over $75 full-action Barbie Doll Commandos? Whatevs!

Sure, it’s hard to make a buck off of Thanksgiving if you’re not a grocery store, but it’s still an important holiday. It’s the one where we’re all grateful for all the things we have.

Maybe that’s why they want us to overlook it… if we’re thankful for the things we have, perhaps we won’t be as inclined to go out and buy more.

black-friday-wembl_3121002k-large_transqvzuuqpflyliwib6ntmjwfsvwez_ven7c6bhu2jjnt8Seriously, retailers, you all have come together and realized we don’t like the idea that you’re open on Thanksgiving and more than 40 of the big chain stores have decided that they won’t be taking part in Black Friday on Turkey Thursday.

Now, do you all think you can get together and make a pact to not put up Christmas decorations and sale items until the Christmas music starts?

Which, of course, will commence first thing in the morning on November 1.

 

 

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2016. All images remain the property of their original owners.

I’m ready for Christmas

It’s been a rough week.

MyOld_Lady_with_a_Cane hip hurts. And even though the doctors say it’s arthritis, I’m way too young to hear that come out of any professional’s mouth.

One of my cats died Sunday morning. But he was 417 years old, so it was time.

My house is not the kind of clean I would like it to be, but we’ll blame that on the aforementioned hip, and ignore the fact that I tend to have piles of clean laundry in my bedroom always.

My shoes are strewn about my bedroom in the pattern of a mad woman looking for golden slippers in the bottom of a stack of casual canvas boots, but that, too, is somewhat normal.

I’ve had to say “Good-bye” to someone who hated me with the class and debonair air that would have made my Dad proud, and “Hello” to someone who doesn’t know me with a restrained giddiness. Neither of these things is easy for me.

jobs-picMy kid got a job, but his grades are wanting and after a round of going toe-to-toe with one of his teachers for her inane rules, I can’t seem to get him to realize that doing well at school and adhering to those stupid rules is more important than skateboarding.

My other kid can’t understand why I’m not jumping at the bit to chauffeur him off to Hickory, NC to see his online girlfriend and leave him there alone with her for a couple of hours. Did I mention that Hickory is “only” five hours away? Did I mention he’s only 14?

I’ve wrapped up one fund-raising event, but am settling in the realization that I still have several more to go, and the illusion of having a break between them is a pipe dream.

I’m a little homesick for Cincinnati, my friends there and its never-ending buffet of arts and culture, all the while ignoring, of course, its crappy football team, crazy politics and pollution.

There’s a part of me that wants to cross off everything on my “to do” list and replace it with “stay in pajamas, retire to bed and pull covers over head.”

There is an end in sight though.

Christmas is coming.animated-christmas-high-definition-wallpapers-cool-desktop-widescreen-photos

It’s only four days after Halloween and Christmas is upon us.

Since Saturday, November 1 by my calendar, I’ve received more than 12 holiday emails from retailers, avoided no less than six holiday specials on Lifetime and listened to zero holiday tunes on a local radio station, even though they are now playing them non-stop.

Usually, this is where I go into a holiday rant about giving me a break and allowing me to revel in one holiday before we go into another. Mostly, I think this is based on the guilt of not having even so much as looked at a single purchase in that “Oh, this would make a great present for someone” mindset or having knit a single stitch for that “oh so perfect handmade present.”

Usually, I get upset about the idea of Christmas decorations going up in stores on October 30 and how we ought to at least get through the Day of the Dead and Veterans Day before we start thinking about Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas. Usually, I’m already bemoaning what disasters will befall us THIS Thanksgiving day (and there are disasters) even without the sister-in-law from Hell in the house, and railing against how oppressive the Christmas holidays are.

But this year, it’s different.

This year, I think I need a little Christmas cheer. Maybe not 54 days of it, but still…

This year, I think I’m ready to start putting up lights and bringing out the Santas early.

Halloween-decorationsIn September, we put out the Halloween decorations in the yard. The inflatable “Pop Goes the Evil” maniacal clown Jack-in-the-Box with it’s creepy music has been playing in my yard and in my psyche for a month alongside the inflatable black cat, the inflatable overgrown spider and the inflatable “Witch meets Pumpkin.” Zombie corpses dot our graveyard front yard and a new skeleton dog has joined the troop. Tombstones line the top of my tea pot cabinet and Jack o’Lanterns loom from every surface of our living room, bathroom and kitchen. Wicked witches and ghostly pictures hang where we see them every day.

And I didn’t even get all the Halloween decorations out.

But now, I’m ready to put them away. I think I kind of want some joy.

I want to replace our black glittered roses in the bathroom with holly and evergreens. I want to see Santa and the promise of a happy Christmas morning instead of macabre faces and grimacing skeletons. I want to hold a season in childlike wonder instead of feigned fear.

Maybe I am getting old.

I miss the days when our kids looked forward to advent calendars filled with candy and presents under the tree and trips to the mall Santa who only mildly wreaked of cigarette smoke and bourbon. I miss the days when they counted down the “sleeps” ’til Christmas like the days ’til summer vacation.

I miss the days of my kitchen smelling of cloves and cinnamon and nutmeg and sugar cookies instead of barbeque and pumpkin spice.

I miss the days of happy embraces and red noses and long lingering hugs on the front steps, instead of the creepy movies on TV designed to scare the bejesus out of us.

That’s not to say we don’t have those feelings and expectations of happy anymore despite the season, but I want the most perfect of them now.

I want to feel that happy giddiness that comes with the expectation of a joyous morning and the coma-induced aftermath of present opening and unexpected surprises. I have plans for a few of those awe-inspiring surprises in store for the people who mean so much to me. I want to see them now. I want to linger on their expressions when they rip away the wrapping paper.

thanksgiving-dinner-story-topDon’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving. I love the feeling of having the people I care about close to me and eating with me the food that I’ve cooked. I love lounging on the couch and watching parades and football while the world’s most perfect turkey cooks in the oven. I love the lazy happiness that comes after a great party of mismatched dishes and more food than a family and friends could ever possibly eat.

Heck, I even like the bliss of a perfect Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, complete with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

But I think this year, after all the hardships and all the stress and all the turmoil, I need to just be happy for a while. Maybe even 54 days worth.Fridgi-Xmas-Photo-Presents-Open-1

There’s a carefree attitude that comes with Christmas that brings out the happy in those who let it infect them. And they tend to spread it amongst their friends and companions.

It’s the ebola of holidays.

So, for once, I’m ready to forego the whining and moaning about “One holiday at a time, please.” I’m ready to give up my pretense that I want to have breaks between my holidays and actually enjoy creating a warm, comforting environment. I’m ready to stop pretending that I don’t like it and I’m not looking forward to it. I’m ready to start seeing circles in the “Toys R Us” catalogue and turned down pages of “Wireless.” I’m ready to know that what I do over the next 54 days will bring some joy to someone.

I need some happy.

It’s been a really tough week.

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2014

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