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It is apparent that I am going to have to stay out of retail stores and restaurants from Labor Day until the day after Thanksgiving. And the thought of commercialism coming in and crashing my Christmas parade really pisses me off.
You see, for as long as I can remember, my holiday season goes as follows: suck it up and suffer through Turkey Day; be rewarded with a fun Friday of setting the house ablaze with an array of festive lights, bringing out the tree for decoration, and the playing of the first holiday song.
I have taken great care in my selections over the years of that prized first song. I have 834 on my iPod to choose from. Tradition for me has morphed over the years into any little thing that distracts me from the drudgery of family squabbles and miserable memories. Yes, retail began years ago to bastardize the Christmas season by trotting out the perfect Martha Stewart trees before the ghosts and goblins of Halloween are even laid to rest, but I'd always managed to keep it at arm's length by tuning out the sights and sounds until I was ready to embrace it all on my terms. Perhaps it's my inner Grinch rising up inside my ever-shrinking heart, but it's not so easy anymore. Now I'm scowling at the tinny speakers above me, and seeing the tree lots as just another cemetery full of uproot and decay.
It irks me that my tradition is being encroached upon by a nameless, faceless jolly red giant who crashes through the season like the giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, with slashed price tags dangling from every limb, spouting a list of things you need but really just sounding like a grown-up in Charlie Brown’s world. “Whah whah? Whah whah whah whah!”
Don’t get me wrong – I love a gift. I could sit and open presents all day long and be content, but the gifts I prefer are those that have thought behind them, and are given with the spirit they should be, not out of obligation. I love to give them as well, but tend to spread it throughout the year. It’s fun to give something unexpectedly to someone in June or September, just because. Or taking the time to spend with someone – no gift equals lunch with a friend, catching up sharing a laugh or two.
I refuse to give up my holiday spirit altogether, but can see I’m just going to have to be more creative about how I get there.
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