Monday, November 12, 2007

Thanksgiving comes first!!!

(This one's for you Sully!)

(If you don't read his blog: first of all, you should. Second, this post will make a lot more sense after reading his latest.)

On November 1st every year, I like to do my version of Trick-or-Treating: I go into the Dollar Store, Giant Tiger, various grocery stores and other establishments that sell Halloween candy and buy everything at a crazy good discount.

Then I enjoy the candy goodness until Christmas.

This year, the stores pulled a fast one on me (and the hundreds like me who also wait until after Halloween to get their mini KitKats and tiny bags of cheezies). Instead of lowering the prices on November 1st, the Halloween candy stayed the same price for almost a week after the holiday. So I didn't get any. Not until I was in A&P looking for some buffalo wings...

People always tell you not to go into grocery stores when you're hungry, yet it always seems like that's the state I'm in when I walk through their doors. Being broke and hunting for a second job that will pay my ridiculous monthly bills, I've gotten pretty good at avoiding the temptation of "that sale on bags of chips" or "yummy looking box of jalapeƱo poppers". Not that day.

The very first thing I saw when I entered the store was a huge display of Halloween candy: chocolate bars and tiny bags of sweets just waiting for me to buy them. For "only $1.19!!!"

I grabbed 5 bags of candy (which yes, will last both Jeremy and myself until Christmas) and then noticed that there was a Christmas display right beside the bags I'd just greedily snatched. Little Santa Clauses smiled sweetly up at me, beside Rudolph figurines and Little Drummer Boy ornaments. I was shocked to see actual live Christmas trees decked out with red bows, and planted in festive buckets. Not even little trees! These are about 4-5 feet tall!

That's right folks: they keep the price of candy up until the week after Halloween, then they drop the prices of the Halloween candy and put them on display beside the over-priced, totally useless Christmas items. I mean, who is going to buy a Christmas tree on November 5th?! Yet a lady behind me pulled one into her cart along with her supply of cheap Halloween treats.

Since our Mad Science lab is located in a mall, I've spent a lot more time there than in years past. During the past week, the stores have slowly ushered in their holiday music and decorations, and the Santa display was just put up today. Everywhere you look there are candy canes and reminders that Christmas is coming (never mind that it's still 6 weeks away).

To me, the Christmas Countdown should start with Advent. Considering that's the ACTUAL time that people are supposed to be counting down to the birth of Jesus.

It's bad enough that people who don't even believe in Jesus or Christianity have taken this holiday and turned it into something so commercial that even religious people get tired of it. They take Christ out of the name and call it "Xmas" - something that pisses me off even though I don't darken church doors nearly enough for my anger to be justified. Don't agree with me? Imagine for a moment that we take Eid, one of the most holy days in the Muslim calendar, put it into mainstream culture with a cute little mascot, and start selling things in its name, so that eventually non-Muslims are wishing each other a Happy Eid. How about the celebration of Chanukah, start selling t-shirts and other items with the menorah on it, and shortening it to a commercially catchy name like "Kah!" or something. How angry do you think they would be?

My point is - people have cheapened this holiday (holiday meaning "Holy Day") and make us feel like we're letting our friends, family, and even some acquaintances down if we don't get them something good for Christmas.

(Hmm... this rant was supposed to be about something totally different...)

(So back to the original point here. Which I think was something about Christmas being advertised much too early.)

(That digression was pretty fun to write though.)

During our first year together, Jeremy made a rule that we're not allowed to put up any Christmas decorations until December 1st. I usually start to bug him during the last week of November, after sneaking in a few candles and the coloured lights.

By then, half the neighbourhood usually has lights up, and people's standard topic of conversation rotates around whether or not they're ready for the holidays.

The biggest paradox about this situation is that it gets to me every year. I catch myself humming Christmas carols in November and smiling at the little kids clustered around toy stores. I start planning my Christmas break (and often even New Year's) weeks in advance, and tell stories about the Christmases that have passed while thinking about what to get for people this year. Maybe I'm just a big kid at heart, but the sight of the house down the road with it's lights brightening the grey November sky still makes me smile, even though I know it's much too early for them to be lit.

Since there really isn't much that can really be done to stop the Christmas commercial machine, I am making a decision right now to not let them get to me. I refuse to worry about how much money will be there for Christmas gifts, and am making a point of enjoying the wait for my favourite holiday.

Bring it on, Santa!


  • At 11:20 AM, Blogger Suldog said…

    Yay! Huzzah! You have now officially been enshrined in the Friends Of Suldog Hall Of Fame!

    (Well, OK, there really isn't such a place, but there should be. And, if there was, you'd be in it. Thanks!)

  • At 10:16 PM, Blogger Melinda said…

    Thanks Sully! And thanks again for the inspiration for the post - I'm always looking for things to write about :)

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger Kate said…

    Ah, more converts to Thanksgiving first! Come visit our blogs, too. Have a good week-end!

  • At 3:11 PM, Blogger Julie said…

    It's bad enough that people who don't even believe in Jesus or Christianity have taken this holiday and turned it into something so commercial that even religious people get tired of it.

    Okay, you do know why Dec. 25 was chosen as the supposed (though unlikely) birthday of Jesus, right?

    But yes, Thanksgiving comes first!

  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger Melinda said…

    Kate - I will definitely head over to check everybody's out now that the weekend's here :)

    Julie - yep, I know about the origins of Dec 25th. The point that I was really trying to make is about the holiday itself being taken away from it's original meaning, (date notwithstanding).

  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger Suldog said…

    I don't suppose you're still reading your comments. But it's the only way I can think of to thank you, again, for having written such a wonderful piece about Thanksgiving. And to say that I pray all is well for you.


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