I dropped my kids off at school on Friday morning. As usual, once the minivan was empty of minors, I abandoned their radio station of choice and started flipping. IMAGINE MY SURPRISE upon learning that on Friday, Nov 16, a local station has already fully dedicated itself to playing ONLY Christmas music!!
Ok, I know that I avoid this station annually up until the 23rd or 24th BECAUSE they are THE CHRISTMAS STATION and if I don't want to hear ONLY Christmas songs between Thanksgiving and New Years I know to steer clear. I don't hate Christmas or the music, but when you hear 3 different artists sing THE SAME DAMN SONG within a 2 hour period, it wears a little thin.... that and a full month (or more) of nothing but Christmas music can make one slightly crazy... or contribute to their existing crazy...
But it has been hard to entirely avoid that station. One accidental slip while flipping through the station is all that is required to get the attention of the little people I cart around. Doesn't matter how fast you flip it to another station. They heard it, and they won't let you forget it. My darling children, who would prefer that every day of the year be Christmas cannot get enough of the Christmas music--if it's on the radio it means Santa is near... right?
None of us have the time to rehash all the "spirited discussions" I've had with the kids about whether or not to listen to Christmas music today. They have won--many times over--I've been outvoted, clearly.... so when they are in the car and are aware there is a "Christmas option," I have no choice but to sigh and turn off my ears for the remainder of the ride home. That has caused its own problems--I've been accused of ignoring, not listening, not caring, etc... I just apologize and say, "I'm concentrating on traffic." What else can I do?
So... it's one thing if the music starts on Black Friday... then the next year ON Thanksgiving... then the next year the day before... then the next year the weekend before....
BUT THIS TAKES THE $%#@&*$% CAKE!!
I am COMPLETELY removing this station from the saved ones on the radio buttons in my car!!!!! And also from the saved buttons on the radio buttons in my house!!! There!! I bet they're sorry now!!! I hope they are paying attention!!
Look, I get it. This is America and commerce is king. What business owner in their right mind is NOT going to take advantage of every opportunity to get buyers in the door? All it does for me is make me feel rushed, panicked, behind, suckered because I didn't get the "best" deal....I must not love my loved ones enough because I didn't stay awake for 24 hours+ to wait in line for an armband outside a store... or risk life and limb trying to enter the store.... or risk a black eye because I picked up the last "toy of the year" off the shelf and now I have at least 20 moms eyeballing & following me throughout the store, waiting for me to abandon the cart, hoping they won't have to resort to violence...
I'm done, I can't take it.... My loved ones will simply have to accept crudely handmade gifts, baked goods & candies that do not taste good because I cannot cook, gift cards, or charitable donations in their names.... it's the thought that counts, right? No?
I'm sorry, I just don't get it! It gets earlier and earlier every year! And it's encroaching! It cuts into my time with my extended family who I only get to see once every year--even if they are from out of town, they scour the ads and plot & plan and separate & conquer as if their lives depend on it--all while the sweet potatoes are still hot!! I remember being younger and actually having a conversation... about life, catching up, enjoying each other's company... not anymore! Thank you very much, corporate America--suck it!
Critics might say that it should all be managed by the individual, that my relatives should be held to a higher standard, that if family life mattered to them they would ignore the sales, that they should be blind to the huge discounts... REALLY? I call BS... this is what is counted on-- normal, everyday folk who want "that one BIG thing" and here is the chance to get it on their budget... or here is the ONE AND ONLY chance to make their kid's wishes come true.
And whatever happened to employees having AT LEAST SOME time to spend with their families???? Looking back, I can recall LESS THAN A HANDFUL of gifts I've received for Christmas... all the REAL memories are the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and emotions around the holidays... as well as the spirit of giving... I remember shopping with my meager allowance for things like key chains, change holders, back scratchers... whatever a kid could afford... and being SO excited to watch the recipient open their gift because "i just KNEW it would be PERFECT for them." I remember collecting change in little milk-carton-like containers for the poor... I remember my Mom always choosing someone off the Angel Tree in the mall... I remember people pooling their money to purchase a dinner & gifts for a family in need. Back then, that was already factored into the "Christmas budget."
"Peace to all, Goodwill to men"
What happened? Where did that go?
I also can't help but think of my dear friends who dread the holidays, who either have no family with whom to celebrate (sorry, folks, inviting single people to join a Christmas might be cool, but it's NO substitute--they are fully aware this is NOT THEIR family...sometimes the whole thing backfires) OR they have difficult & traumatic memories of their youth during the holidays. Yes, yes, I know the whole world can't be expected to stop celebrating for those who can't handle it... but do we really need to drag it out even longer? They have to buy groceries AT SOME POINT during the now-2 month period-between-Halloween-and-C
hristmas... they can't just be expected to "stay away." Just check out the suicide statistics during this time of year.
Ok, so I'm ranting... but please... maybe someone can help me understand?
Am I the only one that finds the earlier Holiday Season ridiculous?