One … the obvious fact that the current holiday was over.
Two … the less obvious fact that the next holiday was beginning.
Well, actually it had already begun. These days, we don’t even wait to polish off the Thanksgiving leftovers before we’re off and running toward Christmas, or whatever you choose to call your winter holiday!
Well, for one thing, decorating has become such laborious task and expensive investment that you don’t feel like you can afford to do it all for a mere two-week time frame. Nope, if you’re not decorated by Thanksgiving, you’re really behind the curve … and as you observe the decorating “arms race” taking place in November, you can almost make book on which houses will still be decorated for Christmas in February …
I’ve watched with a certain degree of fascination as a fair proportion of my neighbors began the laborious task of decorating their houses for Christmas just as soon as they could rip down and store their Halloween paraphernalia.
Without even stopping long enough to consider the significant holiday in between, they began crawling along their roofs stringing miles of multi-colored lights along their gutters and strapping the life-size inflatable Santa and reindeer to their chimneys long before the last of the leaves were even off of their hardwood trees.
And as incredulous as I am at the amount of time, effort and expense that society now seems to dictate that we invest in decorating, the really unbelievable evolution that has occurred has taken place in our shopping habits!
I suppose there has always been a “Black Friday” even before they officially named the day after Thanksgiving. Even so, the biggest shopping day of the year used to be just that … the biggest “day” of the year.
How much this has changed over the past few years struck me hard as I drove my daughter to her department store job late Thursday night where her shift was to begin exactly at the stroke of midnight! That’s right, before Thursday was even in the books, Friday had begun for eager shoppers and harried store managers and employees alike.
Driving in, I was amazed to see that the shopping center, normally blacked out at this hour was as alive as any normal Saturday afternoon. Much more so in fact. The parking lots were already packed with cars and even motor homes that had carried and in some cases actually housed people determined the literally “bust” the doors in their quest for “door buster” specials.
Isn’t there something basically wrong with this entire picture?!?
Never mind that historically the word holiday is derived from the term “holy day” … even from a secular perspective (according to Webster) a holiday is defined as a period of relief … and a general exemption from work. But in a very real sense, we could now flip that definition on its head and define “holiday” as a period of greater stress and anxiety with general increase in work.
Maybe I’m just old fashioned. Heck, maybe I’m just an old fart. Probably I’m both!!
But, there’s something in me that believes it’s a problem when we’re worried about hanging Christmas lights on November 1st while waiting for the daffodils to bloom before taking them down.
And there is something basically wrong with lining up at midnight to begin a fevered aggressive rush to accomplish that which could (and probably should) be done in a leisurely and civilized manner over the subsequent couple of weeks.
Is it just me? Am I the only one who is tired of all this?
Well, if the throngs of people lined up around the entire store on Thursday night eagerly anticipating the kickoff of Black Friday is any indication, I may very well be.
And a quick assessment of the number of houses celebrating this Valentines Day by flipping the switch one more time on their icicle lights might just provide final confirmation.
Well, anyhoo … Happy Holidays!!!