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The four months of Christmas

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Tis the season to be jolly and apparently the official launch of the holiday season, at least according to retailers, begins in October. For those of you searching for an appropriate Christmas gift for - moi, all I want for Christmas is Thanksgiving back. I'd also like to know how the Grinch stole not only Thanksgiving but Halloween. One could argue that marketing Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas simultaneously has advantages from a retail perspective. However, for holiday slackers like myself, well I expect to be able to wander into a Walmart at the last possible minute and find Halloween costumes in October not Christmas lights . I suppose this retail conspiracy might allow you to save a few bucks by buying costumes that can be " repurposed " Instead of ghosts and goblins wandering the streets in October perhaps Santa. Rudolph and the elves? The money you save on the repurposed costumes can be spent at some Black Friday throw down instead. I must admit it is a little disconcerting to wander into a Walmart or any retail establishment for that matter and be forced to endure premature Christmas cheer. It's October - in Arizona. Temperatures are still hovering in the Hellish range and the last thing I wish to contemplate is some fat guy stuffed in a red flannel suit trimmed in fur. I guess I must be a Ba Humbug kind of gal but I just don't think my holiday expectations are unreasonable. I don't want to be subjected to gruesome Halloween masks glaring across the isle at shelves full of Santas and angels. Call me a holiday " purist " but when I wander into my local Walmart in October, dazed, confused and suffering possible heat stroke, I expect to be greeted with the indifference I have come to expect from most retail establishments and not - The " 12 Days of Christmas " or some other classic holiday selection.

Apparently the holiday season started a few weeks earlier this year. Yes, holiday light displays began sprouting faster than HOAS could send violation letters - if that's possible. My neighbors have decided to celebrate a holiday that promotes indulging in all the things that are bad for you- eating, spending , drinking and with renewed zeal no less. These masters of exterior illumination could not control their enthusiasm until the third week in November and began adorning their chalets with strands of lights on November first. I enjoy a tasteless light display just as much as the next guy but this unusually early start to the season means that that neighbor who typically leaves his lights up until March will now force you to endure his creative genius for an additional three months. Forgive me, but once the holiday season has ended and we can all heave a collective sigh of relief, I don't want to think about Santa, his elves, that damned red nosed reindeer or my credit card bill. Perhaps you can leave your light display up until the 4th of July, festoon it with a few sparklers and American flags and wait for the fire department to arrive and put us all out of our holiday misery. More bang - for the buck.

Call me old fashioned but I hardly think Black Friday enthusiasts reflect the true spirit of the holiday season. Scouring the malls for the best holiday bargains should not involve arm wrestling your fellow shoppers for the last well priced flat screen TV. Neither should it include utilizing weapons of mass destruction such as pepper spray to achieve a " competitive " advantage. Trust me. Years from now when memories dim like lights on a tree, it's not the high tech gadgets that expire long before their warranties do that will remain indelibly etched in your memory but memories of time spent with family and friends that will live on far longer than the 18 years it took to assemble a toy that according to the 50 page instruction manual that accompanied it , should have taken no more than 10 minutes. I guess I'm just at that in between age - too old for toys, too young for the " home " but old enough to remember the real meaning of the holidays. Thanksgiving gave us a yearly opportunity to gather with family and friends you hadn't seen in years. Ok - so you prefer to keep it that way. It allowed us to engage in actual face to face conversation without the benefit of some mobile device with texting capability. Maybe next year some retail genius or computer geek will figure out a way for us to " phone in " Thanksgiving so you won't be distracted from what they hope will become your primary holiday focus - shopping. Picture it. An image of a turkey will pop up on your phone, a specimen so perfect you know no one in your family could have prepared it. A scent reminiscent of pumpkin pie will waft from the screen and you will have saved at least 5 hours in the kitchen and countless calories not to mention those needless alcohol fueled family debates over who has to drive your inebriated uncle home. Perhaps you can catch a quick bite at the drive through window of one of the many fast food establishments that are required by law ( ? ) to remain open on all major holidays. Pick up a turkey milkshake and some sweet potato fries. Good eats. Of course, you may wish to ponder the fact that your holiday feast is being prepared by underpaid and disgruntled elves who are more than a tad miffed that they don't have the funds or the time to participate in some over hyped Black Friday event.

So, to those of you who long for the days when holidays were confined to their own month, join me in starting a new holiday tradition - Black Friday Boycott 2014. Yes, if you long for the days when holidays had real meaning, when Thanksgiving gave you the opportunity to indulge in time honored traditions like overeating and napping, join me my friends. If you believe that some holidays are meant to be enjoyed in a semi comatose state , passed out on the couch in front of the TV where you will remain until your wife confuses you with a corpse and transports your lifeless body along with a turkey carcass to the alley- in a hefty bag, let's join forces. Next year, instead of plotting your military style assault on local retail establishments, meet me at the dinner table. Leave the pepper spray at home and bring a bottle of Jack Daniels because creating those special holiday memories is what it's all about...

Happy Holidays

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