I’ve always found it ironic that the best time of year is followed by the worst time of year. My drive to work reinforced my belief. On the way I passed numerous Christmas Trees thrown out at various curbs. Several inflatable Santa Clauses lay in flat heaps on people’s front lawns. Instead of the radio greeting me with cherry, upbeat Holiday tunes, I listened to the same banal songs that saturated the airways prior to Thanksgiving.
My drive home wasn’t much better. A cold, blustery wind made me crank my heater for the first time this season. Instead of an array of Christmas lights, a somber twilight illuminated my way home. Yes, Christmas 2015 is formally over.
Ever since my childhood, I always loathed the end of the Holiday Season. In my youth, I figured that came from having to return to school. The carefree days of sleeping late and playing with the toys Santa brought me had come to an end. The time to get back to work had come. Now I wonder if that was the real reason.
As I got older I realized that Christmas is the most heavily advertised event on the planet. I remember back in the 1990s while shopping for my parents’ anniversary, I noticed Christmas displays in the mall. Since my Mom and Dad were married on October 10th, I couldn’t believe it. How could a store be getting ready for the Holidays prior to Thanksgiving?
Flash forward twenty some years. Now stores get ready for the Holidays around Labor Day. I watched television commercials targeting Christmas shoppers before Football season began this year.
While growing up in the 1970s I remember one radio station would play nothing but Christmas music from December 24th through January 1st. Now, several play nothing but Holiday music from the Monday before Thanksgiving until Christmas Day! That’s a solid month!
And then on December 26th, it’s all over. All the Christmas music disappears from the airways. Stores begin removing their displays. I remember a few years ago while at a café on New Year’s Day, I watched as the staff took down the Holiday decorations and put away the Christmas Tree. I felt like a soldier watching Old Glory descend the flagpole.
It’s not that I’m depressed Christmas is over; it’s that I feel like I’ve entered another world. For several months, everything one sees reminds one that Christmas is coming. In the span of a few days, all of that disappears. I remember a March visit to the café I mentioned earlier. Some of the baristas started singing:
Oh, by gosh, by golly
It’s time for mistletoe and holly.
They laughed saying how weird it was not to hear that song every few minutes.
I also miss all the fun stuff leading up to the Christmas Season. For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, the heat and humidity leading up to Labor Day gives way to cool autumn days. After that a lot of fun Halloween activities take place. They’re followed by Thanksgiving. All this time, signs of Christmas become apparent, leading up to the big day itself.
Right now, we’re looking at three months of lousy weather. I’ve heard some refer to this period in the Northeastern U. S. as “the Dark Ages.” We’ve got bitter, frigid cold with the ever present possibility of snow and ice. It’s ironic that seasonal tunes like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “It’s a Marshmallow World in the Winter” no longer come over the airwaves.
It may not seem like it now, but the detritus of Christmas 2015 will give way to spring’s blooming flowers. Then again, every year the Season seems to start earlier and earlier. Who knows? The way things are going, 2016’s Black Friday deals may be in full swing before Easter.