13 November 2008

Hurry, Hurry Christmas...
Wow...only 42 shopping days until Christmas.
OK, so YOU know and I know that EVERY YEAR, the "Christmas Season" begins earlier and earlier.
That's a fact (Jack).
Used to be a time when THANKSGIVING DAY was the official kickoff to "THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME...OF THE YEAR".
At the end of every parade rode the "big guy", decked out in his seasonal attire, was accompanied with a bevy of hometown beauties aka "Santa's Helpers".
And it was at that time he entered the department store in some overly-theatrical manner to proclaim that: "Christmas season had begun". Many times in Philly, he "held court" on the fifth floor of Gimbels, and they used a Fire Dept. Ladder Truck to allow the ascension to his realm.
In retrospect, after wondering about those cutie female "helpers/elves", I can see WHY Santa was so damn jolly.
I'd be pretty damn smiley too...and you know why.
But back then, I was a kid, a bit of a nitwit (weren't we all at some point?), and wetter behind the ears than a lake trout.
Still, it was at THAT time of year when Christmas hit with the power of a Force Four hurricane.
And THEN the anticipation began to build like a Beethoven crescendo (as did my parents' bills).
Today...not so much (except for the bills, that is).
Even Santa's Helpers have taken on a "different" look, and I have to admit while they don't do anything for me in "that" way, I do feel better knowing that Santa is a LOT safer these days.
Christmas today creeps up on us, much like a thief in the night.
No more BAM, it's here on Thanksgiving Day.
We start to hear the first rumbling of Christmas as early as Labor Day.
We start to see the stores deck themselves out by Halloween.
We see the advertisements in the papers and on TV right AFTER Halloween.
And the Salvation Army Bell-ringers begin their quest for donations TODAY.
I was buying a mortar and pestle at some cooking store on Veterans Day, and the music being played over the speakers was Ray Charles singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. What the deuce?
Almost made me want to dig out my JINGLE CATS tape when I got home.
Why all the rush, people?
Be patient. Christmas is coming like a jail on wheels...it's inevitable.
Why spoil it by starting (way) too soon?
I somehow suspect that it could be a plot to get people out spending sooner. And with this economy, maybe that's not such a bad thing.
But wait, won't people incur higher bills at this time of year?
Sure, but the marketing bosses don't care about YOUR bills any more than the "money-changers in the temple" (read Wall St.) cared about that huge mortgage or large loan you got suckered into either. They're getting a bloody BAILOUT, remember?
'Tis the season to be JOLLY, hmm?
Seems some will be more jollier than others.
Well, I'll be doing MY best, that's for sure.
In fact, I've become on of "those" people that shops early. And I admit to shopping earlier as I get older. Maybe it's a "seasoned-maturity-aging" thing, but it makes more sense AS I get older.
I used to be a last minute kind of guy, but that was when I was barely out of my teens, and had a helluva lot more to learn about the world.
And shopping.
When you do the last minute gig, you're left with the retail dregs of the barrel, as it were.
And you have to admit that with all the technology we have available to us (like the Internet), shopping becomes less of a hassle.
I actually relish it. This is a case where I'm making the technology work for ME (for a change).
I so enjoy the "thrill of the hunt" when shopping for that elusive item.
Takes me back to some good old days.
So, what can we all take away from this?
Well, lots of stuff, if we're paying attention.
I would caution you that it doesn't HAVE to take the Christmas decorum to motivate one into shopping for the family, or even yourself.
All it takes is a watchful eye, an open ear, and the willingness to act on what you see and hear.
Pay attention to what family members "hint" at, and get it early.
Look for sales long before Christmas. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a 30% off sale in JULY is WAY better than a (pre-holiday inflated price) 20% off sale at Christmas, do you?
And the chances of FINDING it are stacked in YOUR favor.
It's like doing a recon...
You scope out the territory (stores) in advance (before the season hits and the shoppers block the aisles with their kids in tow) gather some intel (do price comparisons), and then call for an extraction (get your butt home). where you can disseminate all you got in the field (look for online bargains and check shipping charges). Report these findings to your superior (your significant other), and then you can properly plan your attack (buy ahead of time).
Sounds simple...and it really is.
When it comes to today's economy, and the panic spawned from it (both real and perceived), you have to really keep an ear to the rail and hear what's being said.
Bill O'Reilly stated last night that the best thing the average American can do is LIVE THEIR LIFE...and don't panic.
I admit to being on board with that.
Dad used to have a quaint saying that still rings true after all these years:
"Don't try to live a champagne life with a beer pocketbook."
Translation: Never live ABOVE your means. Be frugal, be cautious, and be aware of what goes on around you.
And when some extra money happens your way, you'll appreciate it a lot more, rather than expecting it all the time, and being thoroughly disappointed in the process.
That makes for a more content life, no matter WHO you are.
But it would be nice to save Christmas FOR Christmas...or at least Thanksgiving.
Hey, did you see the cool Valentine's Day cards and candy at Walgreens yet?
I hear the Easter candy will be in by the end of the month, too.
ROFL...Nah...I'm just shinin' 'ya on....or am I?


indy said...

you told the truth.....i try to do that christmas shopping long before this. in fact even for the christmas toys i donate. i got at target after christmas last year at 75percent off a few cartloads of toys. they have been hanging out in the spare bedroom cluttering up the place. :)cant wait for donation time. most of them were 5.00 or so and that was for brat dolls and such not. and listening to what they want is true. my sister always wanted a large rock of (what's it called the purple stone) never the less i got it at a rock fair at a county fair grounds near indy one year for like 20.00 everywhere else they sell them for 80.00. i enjoy homemade gifts and simple gifts. like my mail carrier i gave him some nuts and hand lotion. thrilled him for real. and i give bakedgoods and handlotion and lip cream for my man to keep him soft and smelling good for me. ;) he loves it. christmas is fun. its how you prepare for it.

Bob G. said...

'Ya know...you got a great way of saying it...
It IS the WAY YOU PREPARE for it.
And often, it's the SIMPLE things that mean the most.
And giving to total strangers (who would otherwise receive nothing) is a great feeling (like toys for tots or stopping at a home for orphans).

I can say with conviction that I REALLY miss the "family" aspect of the holidays ever since my parents, aunt and grandparents passed. Just me, the missus and the 2 cats now (and family scattered everywhere else but here...lol)

That's not to say I'm a "humbug"...far from it.

You make your OWN fun eventually, but it never quite compares to the fun you had AS A KID.
And I honestly think my parents got just as much of a "kick" out of the holidays as I did.
Some good memories there.

Thanks for the comments.


indy said...

i agree with the parents. mine have past for a while too. my other family goes threw the spurts of talk and not talking to me. its pretty much just my daughter and i. now a dog too. and of course my friend but he has his family time too. and the rock was called amethyst. thanks for the kind comments.

JR - A Green Eyed Gurl.... said...

Christmas does seem to come earlier each year, I went to Lowe's before Halloween and the Halloween decor was on clearance and the Christmas Department was in all its glory already. Go figure.

I do seem to have more Christmas spirit this year than in recent years past. My ex is still making life miserable, but we have learned to go on and live a good life in spite of his games.

We will definitely be scaling back financially this year, I have no choice, my checkbook says thats just how its got to be. But I have to say I am looking forward to it and working with my kids and showing them that less can be more. They all want a dog very much, so I think it is possible a puppy will be the big gift of the season and it will bring days and days of love, laughter and companionship to all of us. (Yes, I know, there is a lot of work involved and I have just factored it in as my job.) The rest of Christmas will be handmade and homemade and from the heart.

Bob G. said...

...And many times, that's the BEST Christmas you'll ever have...
The ones YOU make with YOUR family (however small).

As Garfield once said (in his TV Christmas special)...

It's not the giving...
it's not the getting...
It's the LOVE.