2017-11-01 / Editorials

Stop the premature arrival of Christmas

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

Look, I’m no Grinch. I’m no Ebenezer Scrooge.

But the mad rush to Christmas has officially begun. In fact, I’ve already seen Christmas commercials on TV, and one of the channels I get on cable is already showing round-the-clock Christmas movies.

Thus, here is my annual column about the need to slow, if not completely halt, the premature arrival of Christmas. Alas, as in previous years, I doubt my effort will do much good.

As I’ve stated many times before, I don’t think Christmas should be allowed to officially begin until Santa Claus is seen in Herald Square at end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

I apparently am in a minority.

A friend posted on Facebook that she was glad November was near so she could start playing Christmas music. A neighbor already has a Christmas tree up. Stores already have Christmas sections.

In Dr. Seuss’s classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the Grinch hated the Whos down in Whoville because of the joyous celebrations and feasts they had to celebrate the season. He watched the Whos from 10,000 feet up the side of Mount Crumpit and plotted a way to keep Christmas from coming.

In Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge was a miserly old man who hated anything sentimental and who thought Bob Cratchit should prefer to work on the holiday than spend what he thought was meaningless time with his wife and children.

I am neither of those things. I love Christmas. I love the decorations and the presents. I love Christmas carols and I love hearing my preacher read the story of Christmas to the congregation. I don’t love going to the mall, but I do loving the ability to shop from the laptop and have the friendly UPS man bring my packages right to my front door.

I just don’t want it all to start in October. Or earlier.

The fall leaves have barely made their appearance, and I’m being blasted with images and sounds of Christmas. It doesn’t need to begin this early. Thanksgiving long ago got steamrolled by the pre-Christmas rush. Actually, Halloween often gets trampled in the pre-Christmas rush, too.

At this rate, it’ll only be a few years before we’ll be wishing the Founding Fathers a Merry Christmas right before we set of the Fourth of July fireworks.

I hate that. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s the one time of year I get together with my extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. This is a good thing. I know some people dread the holiday family gatherings, but my family actually enjoys spending time together.

Look, I know why this happens. It’s all about retail sales. Stores depend on a big Christmas season to make ends meet for the whole year. So the sooner they can start the Christmas season and get us into the store buying gifts, the better it is for them.

And the same thing happens, on a smaller scale, with other holidays, too. Just watch how fast the Valentine’s Day merchandise arrives on store shelves after Christmas. I don’t begrudge the stores for doing this. They deserve to make money.

But all these efforts to turn Christmas into a giant sale tend to diminish — if not erase — the real reason we have a Christmas.

So I’m not a Grinch. I’m more of a Who. Because, face it, the Whos did have the good sense to wait until Christmas Eve to start decorating.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN. com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke @gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/blog/mitch.

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