Halloween has come and gone. Clearly, to many of us, that means but one simple thing: eating ALL THE CANDY.
If only that’s all it meant.
In reality, though, it means an awful lot more. It means that after months of pretending that the frantic holiday season was still half a year away, the time of our annual gauntlet run down the shotgun barrel toward New Year’s Day is upon us. There’s a long way to go before that sigh of relief and all the important college Bowl games, though.
If the office conversations and posts from my twitter timeline, facebook news, and Google+ feed are any indication, however, not everyone’s quit ready to embrace the holiday season just yet. I’m hearing complaints about radio stations prematurely breaking out the Christmas carols for a two-month run. Which makes me wonder: what does a station’s Programming Director do at that point? Sit back and make tape-wad basketballs with pencils hanging from each nostril? I mean, one can only go looking for so many lolzcats.
That, of course, is just the beginning of it. Every single retail store you might happen to enter during the next two months (say, in case you need a new pair of jeans or something) will bombard you with trappings of the season. Apparently everything’s already red and green, fluffy, puffy, white faux-snow can be found around every corner, and an entire army of lawn elves and reindeer stand at the ready, along with a shelves and shelves of menorah.
Basically, someone set off holiday bombs in every single commercial outpost between Maine and Tijuana the instant that last trick-or-treater removed his or her zombie mask.
And some people are crying foul.
It’s understandable, of course. Back when I was a boy (cue swing music and shimmery screen wipe for flashback sequence), Christmas wasn’t A Thing until after Thanksgiving. That was it. The Rule. There would be no discussion or negotiation upon that point. Immediately after Thanksgiving, of course, stores would roll out the Season Greetings stuff with the skill and flourish of a carnie magician stealing first a young lady’s earrings, and later her mother’s pocketbook.
Obviously, then, seeing the trappings of the season creep a month further up the calendar, might be a little disconcerting to some.
But not to everyone, surprisingly. Even with enough kvetching, complaining, and guilt-laying to make a hair salon full of grandmothers with damp permanents under a bank of hair dryers proud, there are many people out there happy to see the Holidays spring forth out of storage, whenever that may happen . Their eyes go wide and shiny like Pikachu‘s at the barest suggestion that their “special time” was finally just about here.
In other words, when they step into a department store on November 1st, it’s like trying to contain a 4 year-old at Disney World.
So, look, retail stores, radio stations, etc, we get it. Getting your Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza/Festivus out there as soon as is humanly possible might give you a bit of an economic edge or whatever. And it’s a tough time to be doing business, so okay. And it only seems fair that we give our Season Supporters the extra time if they want it. So, fine, I won’t complain about the holiday encroachment anymore. This is it.
But this is the last time you get a head start. November 1st is the proverbial Line in the Sand. The Half-Court line. The Maginot. The Mason-Dixon. In other words, we’ll let you have November but only as long as you offer assurances to go no further. Call it the “Puddintopia Accord.” But I’d better never see a rosy-cheeked elf on a shelf that ought to be full of bloody zombie masks. Keep that promise, and I’ll keep my mumbled complaints about it being too early to myself.
But if you keep stealing time from us, well, Santa and I are going to have words.