Was talking with a co-worker about the upcoming holiday.  She’s already tired of the season and we haven’t even hit Thanksgiving yet.  It dawned on me while I was shopping the other day that we’re over-loaded with early holiday advertising, and it’s not just Christmas.  It was pretty weird to have my youngest tell me how lame it was seeing Halloween fare in August.  Yeesh. From the mouths of babes.

Sad part? This offends someone, somewhere...

Sad part? This offends someone, somewhere…

Well, I’m pretty mixed on the subject.  I’m a die-hard Thanksgiving-Christmas fan, looking forward to the season as soon as I take the ice covered lights off the porch in January.  Yup, I’m that guy.  I have to have my house decorated for Christmas no later than Thanksgiving Day.  By Christmas day my ever- green is over-brown.  This year I found a Christmas channel on the radio starting November 4th.   I haven’t changed the channel since.

Now that doesn’t mean I have a wreath on my door on the 4th of July.  Hell, I’m lucky if I even start shopping before the end of November.  I love the season but I at least try to confine it to a season.  However, a little early cheer for no dammed good reason other than early cheer just has to be good for my hypertension.

For me, the holiday has always been about family, memories made, and memories to make.  I usually think of my siblings gathered around an old black and white TV when I hear Bing Crosby or Burl Ives.  Yup, me with misty eyes.  Paul Mccartney’s Christmas song still makes my skin crawl.  I have the Nutcracker suite on my iPod.  Geez, I think I have seen every version of “A Christmas Carol”, with the 1951 version, Alastarir Sim as Scrooge, probably my favorite, followed by the 1938 version with Reginald Owens in the lead role.   I usually watch each one 4-5 times during the season (albeit, late at night or I drive the wife and kids nuts..) I actually sit through the entire showing of “White Christmas”, though I normally hate musicals.  And I’ve seen “It’s a wonderful life” so many times, I find myself mouthing the dammed dialogue.  Yeah, weird.  I’ve actually gotten into heated, wassail-fueled discussions about how “A Christmas Story” is the best holiday movie ever.  Um, no, it’s not.  Stuff that in your stocking.

My heart goes out to those folks who have to work on the holidays.  And I don’t mean those essential life-saving services either, although they certainly deserve our gratitude.  I don’t get why we as consumers just have to have our Chia-pets, Ginsu’s or Nikes at 7:00 pm on Thanksgiving eve.  Ah, but there I go, imposing my beliefs and my religion on those who worship at the altar of “anything but Christ” as their religion.  The religion that meets regularly at the big-box discounters or copy-exact malls, places that will never have the personality of a small New Hampshire main street, covered in snow and twinkling with Christmas lights.  Hey feel free to exclude yourself from the holiday cheer, but that’s your choice, not mine.

Funny, as I write this, I realize that it’s almost time for the usual stories with the usual suspects gearing up to boot Santa from the town square.  I’m willing to bet, unfortunately, that the purveyors of all that is right, just and tolerant will eventually succeed in removing Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter from the calendar before my life ends.  Only the right type of hate will be tolerated, state approved, tax-payer funded.  Of course, hate is the wrong word.  Hey, let’s get Orwellian and call it diversity.  Or Inclusiveness.  Whatever you call it, I hope that my grandchildren will still be able to exchange handmade Christmas cards in art class, or bring home hand-tracing Turkeys for mom and dad to put on the refrigerator.  In a country where people are agitating to throw out the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem, I don’t hold out much hope.  We’re progressive don’t you know.  Can’t be progressive without destroying institutions, beliefs or traditions, because they may not be universally shared you see.  The sound of bells near the red kettle in the town square is a debilitating, self-esteem destroying annoyance that must be silenced for the collective good.  Jingle all the way to the nut house…

Whatever.  I’ll still be listening, probably early, to the sounds of joy and reveling in contraband wishes of Holiday cheer every year until I take my last breath.  And as we head into the Thanksgiving week, my beautiful wife will plan a huge meal, hopefully with in-laws and cousins, friends and soon to be friends.  I’ll put carols on the old beat up FM radio I use when doing outdoors chores while I swear at the one set of lights that refuses to stay lit on the porch, going out only after I get off the ladder.  You can drive slowly by bitching all you want.  Cause, sorry fella, it ain’t about you.  It’s about me and those I love.  Go somewhere else and be tolerant.   I can’t hear you over “Dominik the Donkey.”

Let’s keep an eye on the Holiday.  Yeah, it gets tedious for some, probably goes on way to long for others.  Let’s remember those we used to celebrate with and reach out to those who have no one left to hold under the mistletoe.  Be kind to those who spew unkindness and always, always, tell those you love just how much you do.

Please feel free to send me links to stories where the Holiday traditions are under attack.  I’d like to see some.  And while you have the time, check out these holiday related posts.

Happy Thanksgiving…