Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkins or Poinsettias?

In the USA, the last three big holidays of the year
are slowly morphing into one giant season,
simply termed "the holidays."
It is in large part due to commercial interests,
but also because, as they have done for centuries,
people want a reason to celebrate
when early darkness and cold weather begins.

Halloween has the advantage of coming first,
so it rarely has to share attention with Thanksgiving, the middle  holiday.
And being able to have strawberries or lettuce in winter,
instead of only spring,
makes the significance of harvest increasingly lost on people
already unaware of  the daily rhythms of nature.

So don't look now, but before next week's Thanksgiving table 
is set with roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and yams;
Christmas lights will already have been twinkling 
on some houses since the day after Halloween.

photo courtesy of

Irrespective of what I said above,
I'm still not completely sure why some people underplay Thanksgiving's
celebration of autumn bounty, family, and gratitude 
by decorating with holly wreaths and red ribbons; Christmas trees and reindeer.
I like those things too,

But bringing them all out in early November seems a bit premature--
rather like displaying witches, black cats,
and trick-or-treat bags in early September.
Of course people can, but why would they want to?

Driving home amidst sparkle lights and Santa Clauses recently, 
I was reminded of the lyrics from the song 
"We Need a Little Christmas"
from the musical Mame:

Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
It hasn't snowed a single flurry,
but Santa dear, we're in a hurry ...

photo courtesy of

Even though I prefer to keep my holidays separate and in chronological order,
that doesn't mean I don't understand the attraction of a longer Christmas season.
The decorations, the parties, the gifts, the special desserts, 
the religious observances and rituals, the candlelight, the glitter,
these are but a few of the many delights offered up 
during a very pleasant season.
And who wouldn't want that to last longer than a mere four weeks?
Therefore, I suggest that instead of starting Christmas on November 1st, 
we extend it the other way, into the final days of wintery January 
when we really need some good cheer.

That's something to consider 
as we're all sitting around the Thanksgiving table.
And at our house, Santa Claus won't be carving the turkey.

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