November 19, 2004

Wait for it!

As my six year old and I drove past the Tyson's Corner Mall last week on our way to see "The Incredibles," we traded disparaging comments on the holiday banners and gew-gaws festooning the parking lot lighting there.

As I watched "Tora! Tora! Tora!" on the History Channel last night, I kept getting assaulted every five minutes by the same blasted Kay's Jewelers Christmas ad that I saw last year, the one where the Minnie Driver knock-off states that she "absolutely" believes in Santa Claus.

As I walked into the local Imperial Starbucks Redoubt this morning, I noticed the strains of Vince Guaraldi and his Trio jamming out Linus & Lucy from "A Charlie Brown Christmas." I also noticed the appearance of red and green cups with snowflakes on them. Looking at the holder around my own cup, I read the words, "It's Time For Glowing Spirits."

No it isn't. No it isn't!

I hate holiday creep. Christmas is nearly six weeks out still. Exactly how much spirit is anyone expected to have left if we squander it all now? And what the hell happened to Thanksgiving? I know I'm sort of out of the mainstream, culturally speaking, but it seems to me that next Thursday has already been crushed under a Yule-Tide Tsunami.

Of course, I fully recognize that, contrary to what Starbucks might claim, this has absolutely nothing to do with "spirit" and everything to do with Buying More Stuff. Bah! Look, I'm as much a Free Market kind of guy as anyone else, but I am also thoroughly disgusted by rampant over-marketing, especially when it intrudes on, assimilates and perverts the natural tempo of the holiday progression. I wouldn't dream of imposing government regulations about this sort of thing. But I do wish all the Starbucks and Kay's and Shopping Malls and This and That and the Other would show a little more self-restraint.

Patience. Patience! Let the seasons flow naturally and in due time. Don't make us suffer from over-exposure and burnout. I want to enjoy fall and Thanksgiving first. I want to enjoy falling leaves and college football, turkey and hot cider! And I don't want to be so sick of Guaraldi and Handel and lights and ribbons and eggnog and, even Santa that, by the time Christmas actually does roll around, I don't want anything more to do with them.

UPDATE: In order to head off a wave of snarky comments like, "Tom, how can you post a rant about holiday marketing excesses right above a post asking for Christmas presents?" let me clarify that I am just talking about irresponsible front-loading of holiday symbolism for purposes of mass marketing here. I posted about the books because people have been asking me.

Posted by Robert at November 19, 2004 12:35 PM | TrackBack

You think THAT'S bad?? I'm sitting here watching "Black Sunday" on A&E. And the damned Kay Jewlers, Target freakin' colorblocked Christmas commercials are playing in between.

It's like a Kafka dream, but I'm awake. I think.

Posted by: Margi at November 19, 2004 05:24 PM
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