So there I am, driving home from an enjoyable trip to see the fall colors, having taken a day off from work to make this journey. It just so happened that the day off I took fell on Columbus Day, October 12th. As I’m driving along with my wife, looking for a farm market at which to pick up some local produce, we hear that now that Columbus Day is nearly past, the start of the “official holiday shopping season” is finally upon us. What? It’s October 12th! It was a bit chilly and breezy but I was still wearing shorts! I’m not ready for any “official” shopping season to be starting unless it’s for the next holiday on the calendar. We still have Halloween and then that little, traditional family get together we call Thanksgiving to get through. Since when and by what authority did October 12th become the official start of the generic holiday shopping season? Of course, if the radio personality who made that statement meant that it was now the official start of the Halloween shopping season, that’s another story all together. Unfortunately, I don’t really think that is what they intended to convey to the listening audience.
I would like to know where I can check public records to find the genuine, true, “official” starts of all the holiday shopping seasons that we need to be aware of. Like what about Labor Day; if I start shopping for all the goodies for my Labor Day cookout or all the decorations I string up around the house too early, do I get in trouble with the official holiday shopping season police? If I miss the “official” start date on which to start my shopping for the Fourth of July, am I going to be shut out when I finally do get to the store and try to find red, white and blue paper plates and cups? Oh my gosh, if I wait until January 4th or later, will I still be able to locate a butter lamb for Easter? Why has the American public allowed the all powerful media to tell us when we should be shopping for specific holidays? And it’s not just the media leading us all down this primrose path, oh no, the department stores and even the grocery stores are already letting us know that Christmas is a mere TWO MONTHS AWAY! I am willing to bet that if I fell into a coma and did not wake again until November 20th or so, I would have missed most if not all of the holiday TV specials that bombard us following Halloween.
I’m willing to bet that my family and friends, knowing that the drummer whose beat I march to is a little different from other people’s drummers, will forgive me if I fail to obtain for them, any officially licensed holiday product for any of the upcoming festivities. When I show up for the family Halloween party, they will all look the other way when I produce my unlicensed pumpkin. On Thanksgiving, my brother and his wife will accept the fact that I’ve entered their home with marginally legal to possess, jellied cranberry sauce. And when we finally do get around to celebrating the big one, the major winter gift giving frenzy, the supreme decorating holiday of the year, everyone in attendance at our party will remain politely mum when they open their gaily wrapped gifts and see that none of them have any special stamp of approval, designating them as “official” gifts for the occasion. And anyway, what if I don’t start participating in the “official” holiday shopping season until I’m good and ready to do so – am I going to be struck down by a lightning bolt? I don’t think so. At least I hope not, I don’t want to miss out on any of those “biggest sale of the year” events that signs proclaim are going on each and every weekend at the local mall
Tell you what, anyone who would like to join me, let’s come up with a plan so that everyone can participate within the legal limits of the “official shopping season” for any given holiday. I propose that we make the generally accepted starting date for holiday shopping to fall no more than – hold on – wait a second – forgive me, I’ve got to run. I just heard an add on TV that said I need to call in the next ten minutes to be able to purchase something that promises to be irreplaceable while preparing seasonal holiday meals. It chops, slices, dices and can be easily taken apart for safe cleaning in the dishwasher but I have to call NOW to get in on the specially offered price that is not available in any store! Baaaaaa, Baaaaaa, Baaaaaa.