Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What's The Date Again?

Today is October 30, the day before Halloween. As I've whined about before, Halloween has nearly completed its journey from trick-or-treating to becoming an adult play day. Kids still go out looking for candy, but the spirit of the day has been drastically altered.

If one thing hasn't changed, it's the affection adults have for the bite-size candy bars and goodies intended for the little guys. Today I found my stash of such treats somewhat depleted. Some time ago I bought two large bags of candy and, as is my usual practice, bought the good stuff just in case there was an abundance of leftovers. OK, so I had a few myself in recent days and decided this morning to return to my favorite store to pick up a couple of additional bags before the door bell starts ringing.

Guess what? The store was out of Halloween candy. Clerks were unpacking Christmas candy today. The checker said that this close to Halloween it would be silly to expect the store to have -- Halloween candy.

Let me get this straight. Christmas candy? Christmas is almost two months away.

Sure, we've all seen television commercials dropping hints about the Big Event that rolls around in December. One TV commercial is for scented candles and, although it doesn't refer to Christmas outright, the candles being hawked are red and green. There are ads for major department and discount stores explaining the benefits of lay away and casually depecting elves. Plus there is that one often-shown ad for a large retailer which includes a white dog with a red bulls-eye painted around his eye (get it?) which has actually received a significant amount of negative feedback. People have said, "Hey, it's really too early for that." But the ad continues to run. So be it.

Christmas hype has been with us for many years and does not appear to be waning either.

When I was a kid, even a very young kid, the Santa hysterics were quite evident. There were church events, a school band event, singing carols and making a gift at school. All of those activities involved either making something or rehearsing to perform, all of which required getting into the swing of the holiday weeks earlier than everyone else. That was OK because we realized the planned performance/gift required oodles of practice and time.

But Christmas was not hyped on television or in the press, at least to the same degree. We eagerly awaited the Wards and Sears catalogues and looked through the pages to see what we might want to put on our Wish List. The process was done discretely, quietly, carefully. We marked the pages and made a list.

Excitement didn't build seriously until after Thanksgiving. When we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and saw Santa riding a float at the end, it was official. Christmas was on its way! Thanksgiving was savored for its warmth and family gathering. Turkey sandwiches followed and then… it was time to begin looking ahead to the next holiday. Enthusiasm was there when we really needed it.

Today many people shop well in advance of Christmas. Some shoppers are hoping to find the best bargains. Some have to buy early because they are shipping gifts to a distant location and have to leave enough time. Some want to purchase an item before the store "runs out." Others simply want the shopping to be finished, somewhat like going to the dentist.

Rushing and enjoying seem contradictory. If you are going to enjoy a holiday (or vacation or dinner at a nice restaurant), isn't it better to relax during the event? Why run around like a chicken with its head cut off?

Now through the end of the calendar year is a period filled with a myriad of events. There is family time. Cooking and eating time. Decorating the tree time. Plenty of memories to recall and cherish.

But we need to keep in mind that we are supposed to enjoy the time we are given. Especially during the rush to do everything, we need to slow down and enjoy each minute.

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