Yes, I know it is still October. I have a calendar right here and yesterday I worked on my Halloween lesson plans. But I am faced with the reality that the Christmas season now starts earlier than ever. In the city where I grew up it was officially the “Christmas season” the day after Thanksgiving. That weekend the decorations went up on the street lamp poles. There was a parade. The local tree lots started setting up. Now?? It was still September when I saw the first telltale red and green in local stores.
Hobby Lobby is usually the first to have their holiday stuff on the shelves so crafty folks can start making things. They have an aisle of Halloween supplies, next to a Thanksgiving aisle, followed by twelve Christmas aisles. They are always my first stop for ornaments, and yes I’ve already purchased four. I could also buy a new artificial tree if I had a down payment! Good grief Charlie Brown! I want to have a little money left for presents. Do I really need a $400 tree? (Of course if you really just want to throw money around you can buy a pre-lighted tree on sale for $749 at JCP.com.)
I do have to buy a few things early so that I can mail presents to both coasts. In past years I dreamed of having our kids here for Christmas, but now I would rather spend the time alone than ask them to face the dangers of winter travel and the hassles of airport security.
We have several friends who work in retail. I talked with one yesterday about my years at Macy’s. Christmas was always a stressful but magical time there. Despite the long hours and frantic customers I always enjoyed the beautiful decorations and the music and the special merchandise. It was fun to help people shop for gifts.
Christmas is a time for memories and traditions. I love buying anonymous gifts for those little angels whose parents need some extra help during the holidays. Been there, been the recipient. And I don’t return the favor out of guilt, just gratitude. I also like to buy gifts for my students. They love new books and ornaments. This year I want to contribute to one of the local dinners. There are several charitable organizations that host free meals for the holidays.
Yes, I’m getting into the Christmas spirit. Time to plan and spend and wrap and mail. Time to buy Christmas cards. Time to drag out the old photos and reminisce. Here is one for you to enjoy. It’s me playing Mrs. Claus.
Let the shopping begin….