If TV is any indicator, then Christmas season is upon us. I’ve seen so many TV Santas already that I think it’s the last week of shopping and I’m waiting for payday.
I just want to yell "slow down!" But that never works, does it? On the other hand, it’s too early to get the Christmas spirit. So early in fact that if you were to bust out a rendition of "Sleigh Ride," people will think you are nuts for insisting that there is a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray. The talk has even made it to work. Yes, much to my dismay, it’s Christmas season.
Like visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I look toward the future and see myself spending money that I don’t have as if I were some grifter who just made a big score. With panic in my fingers, I type that there are only three paydays left before I even start shopping.
The people I want to smack are those who claim to have their shopping already done, and brag that it was done before Labor Day. Give me a break, will you please? There is no way I could ever do that. I’m a last-minute guy by circumstance. I can’t think of the season now without getting sweaty palms.
It’s the pressure of it all: The thoughtfulness one must have to ensure Christmas comes for everyone on the list is overwhelming. At least it is right now. Sure, I’ll get my second wind and will transform into Johnnie Holiday, my Christmastime alter ego. With eggnog breath, I will shop, bake and wrap everything I can lay my hands on. I’ll buy boxes of chocolate covered cherries with the intention of giving them away, but I will eat them all with a sticky smile on my face.
It will all come together like it does every year. Whether we want it to or not, Christmas comes and it will be a nice occasion with pretty lights and vivid colors -- just like the ‘70s.
But it’s way too early to go there now. Let me get through Thanksgiving first. I really like Thanksgiving. It’s a day to show the Third World what gluttons we are. The turkey, stuffing and candied yams will be spread on the table and I will do my job at making a dent in the meal -- provided I haven’t filled up on snacks first.
Not until Thanksgiving will I give in to the pressure of the TV Santas. After the day of eating, I will go to Walmart at 4:45 a.m. even if there is no big purchase to buy. I will stand with the people, the real people who also struggle and fight to make merry at the end of December. I love the live theater feel that Black Friday shopping brings. The human drama unfolds before you there. It’s real American stage show and should not be missed. It’s like wrestling only not as sweaty.
After the Black Friday massacre, will I get into the spirit of things. We’ll put the tree up. Well, my wife and son will do the tree. I just stand back and proudly watch my life being hung on our faux tree. After the tree goes up, the baking starts but let me remind you, it’s December when you should be baking Christmas cookies. Not in November. Not now!
Let’s enjoy November. Let’s celebrate the Marine Corps’ birthday, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Black Friday as if we were young at heart, not the cynical, world-weary people that we are. Let’s not rush the season. Stop and relax, that’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m not going to let the pressure of TV force me to get into a stressful Christmas. Everything will get done when it gets done and I will enjoy the season.
The key to a good Christmas is to be cool. Can’t get the toy that the kid wants? Be cool. The pies burned in the oven? Be cool. Being cool will slow down the world long enough to enjoy the season when it arrives.
Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer who can’t believe we went from political ads to Santa overnight.