Tuesday, September 29, 2009


A Christmas Zebra. Really?

I was over at Suldog's yesterday and happened on his post by the same name. Here was the challenge he set out there... "Should you be as incensed as I am concerning Christmas schlock, please post a "Thanksgiving Comes First" entry on your blog. Write from the heart. Everybody who visits your blog will know how you feel. Perhaps they'll also write about it, and so will their friends, and so on. I hope that, if enough of us do this, we might make some small impact." This is my version.

As I mentioned a few posts back... I went to Sears and had a terrible time one evening with a friend who was trying to buy some paint. While it took the young man an eternity to mix the paint, I wandered aimlessly. This is what I found to photograph on the shelves:

Charlie Brown's sad little Christmas tree...
on the shelf... bold as brass... before the Great Pumpkin has even visited!

I grew up with a Peanuts schedule. First was the Charlie Brown's Christmas Special. This was followed a year or so later by It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! Every year after... the Great Pumpkin would show up at Halloween and then... A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving...come Christmas, Charlie Brown's faith in the power of hope brought that sad little tree to magical magnificent life despite the glare of greedy commercialized Christmas.!

Scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas with the Christmas tree.

You could count on them happening each year the same way... each within their season... exactly like you knew that Lucy was going to jerk that football away just as Charlie Brown tried to kick it. Or that the kite eating tree was going to get Charlie Brown's kite. Or that the Great World War One Flying Ace would order a sarsaparilla.

The seasons came and went as constants in our lives. As a child this was comforting, something to look forward to and tradition that I could understand. (Unlike some of the traditions we had like eating black eyed peas on New Years for good luck. Why does that work? )

Unlike shows such as this one:

A short clip of Jeff Dunham and Achmed the Dead Terrorist from Jeff's brand new Comedy Central Special and DVD, "Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special"!

Okay... funny, but not exactly what the holiday is about or traditional.

I do not mind Snoopy Santas. I like Charlie Brown's sad little tree... but they have a season. They need to stay in that season. Otherwise the lines get blurred. By the time Christmas does show up 4 freaking months later, I am so done with the decorations and hoopla that I am not even enjoying it anymore.

Nor do I want to step foot in a store or turn on the television set with a child in tow! Everywhere you look is a toy or fad that they just have to have.

Why do they have to have it? Because every waking second of their day a blatant message is being hurled down their throats... buy me! You will never have more fun! EVERYONE you know has one of these. DON'T BE THE ONLY KID WHO DOESN'T HAVE ONE!

Herd beasts that children are... they want to stampede the store to get one. Tomorrow it will be another thing they are told that they can't live without and the whine starts over anew. I detest whining.

There was a time when things went at a nice sane pace. When you had time to enjoy Turkey diner before you worried about Christmas shopping. I do not want to plan Christmas diner at Halloween or... "Good Grief"... before! I don't want to hear about it or see it until the Turkey is in zip lock baggies for sandwiches and soups. Likewise I do not want to worry about Thanksgiving diner until the candy has been passed out at the door to little zombies and vampires. I want to enjoy those moments before running on to the next one. Time goes fast enough.

Charlie Brown was right. Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving have all become way too commercial. I guess there were those out there who didn't watch that special.

As for me and my household. We keep Christmas and the other seasons where they belong... in their proper time frame. I don't know how you feel. Say your peace here or take up Suldog's idea and run with it on your own blog.


  1. I think I'm going to disagree with you a little bit.

    For one thing, I've already said how I would like to start decorating for Halloween on September 1st. I didn't actually get around to doing that, but I would have liked to. So I can't really get upset with people if they have some of their Christmas decorations up in early November or even October, I just think it is better if most of it is not seen until later.

    And while I don't think that people's houses should be seen with Christmas lights and such before Thanksgiving, I think that if you are going to do the whole Christmas decorating thing that you have to put up the lights and such when it there is still relatively nice weather. Just don't actually turn on the lights until after Thanksgiving. Get most of the lights attached to the roof and hung in the trees, and leave Rudolph in the garage for a bit, but do most of the work before it becomes a big hassle. Then you have a nice display ready to go on December 1st or the weekend after Thanksgiving or whatever.

    Then of course, if you want to do that sort of work ahead of time so that when December gets here you can just enjoy looking at the lights instead of having to try to put them up in the snow, you have to buy them much earlier, at least in November, and for some people maybe even as early as October or September. And the can't do that if the store doesn't already have the lights out for sale.

    But that is probably all I would have out for sale at this point, just the lights that are a hassle to get attached to the roof and around the trees and such. They don't yet need to make space for tree ornaments and holiday wrapping paper and the rest of it. I'm not sure when that should go on sale, but if they don't do it well before Thanksgiving, all the store employees would probably be expected to come in on Thanksgiving to put out the new stock. I'm sure that a lot of them already have to do that, as there are now stores that are open on Thanksgiving. But the rest of them should do that work earlier in the month so that they can stay home that day.

    Anyway, I think that there is a big difference between having Christmas decorations out for sale and having already decorated a place for Christmas. One is good to have before Thanksgiving, and the other is not.

    And since Thanksgiving itself isn't a big commercial thing, the store usually has the space to do that. There aren't just rows and rows of special Thanksgiving decorations. There are general fall decorations, and then you can add a few pilgrims or a fold-out turkey, but that's usually about it, and hopefully it will stay that way. Usually all that I would do is turn one of the Halloween pumpkins so that it's face doesn't show, and them put some leaves and some squash around it. At this point, Thanksgiving itself is still mainly about visiting family and eating, and the only commercial decisions are about where to buy the food.

    As for the other Christmas shopping, the actual buying (or making) of gifts, that should probably be done year-round. Buy stuff when you just happen to see something that someone would want. Buy stuff for people while you are on vacation if you see something really cool. And if you make gifts (other than food), you certainly cannot wait until after Thanksgiving. Knitting and sewing and such take weeks, and stuff like ceramics take time to dry and then if you don't have your own kiln you have to wait your turn for that.

    I am usually already starting on Christmas stuff the day after Christmas with clearance sales and such. I'm afraid with the money situation that I am really behind schedule with the whole thing this year, but I hope I'm going to catch up and have most of the stuff done before December 1st, so that I can sit back and enjoy doing stuff with my family and friends and not rush around buying stuff and trying to finish art projects.

  2. I have to agree you, AG. I want to enjoy Halloween, then Thanksgiving and finally, Christmas. I don't want to dress up as Santa for Halloween or serve Thanksgiving dinner on red and green plates with holly boughs on the napkins. There, I've said my peace.

  3. Thank you so much for this! Every bit helps to preserve mt sanity!

    That is such an amazingly sad thing, to see Charlie Brown's little tree for sale (and never mind that it's so early.) That little tree was the symbol, within the show, for how Christmas should NOT be over-commercialized. And here it is, on the shelves, in September? That's not right; not at all.

    By the way, to the commenter above: My big gripe is with the retailers, not with folks who want (or need) to decorate a bit early. I would no more keep you from doing that than I would curtail any other freedom you have. I just hate to see my childhood co-opted for a buck. That's the big disgrace.

  4. Christmas offends my spirit and I don't do it in any form anymore, I go camping. I also ignore Halloween the best I can, and go to a free community dinner on Thanksgiving.

    I do love the turkey season and there are a lot of free turkey dinners around here during the coming months. gobble gobble, pass the fucking spuds and gravy. Oh, and the pumpkin pie.

  5. Hey, Ananda. I agree with you. Here in Hell (not even Dumb Potters Hell) they put out Halloween candy over a month ago. Poor kids. How stale will that candy be? I won't buy candy until the day before. I will enjoy handing it out to the happy Trick or Treaters because I remember how happy I was to be able to break free from the parental grasp that was my life and run free with my friends. At night! At night!!!
    Thanksgiving has all but disappeared in Hell.
    Christmas is so very commercial and in these parts we are not allowed to say Merry Christmas in schools. Politically incorrect to say Merry Christmas. When did that happen?
    I,like you, will enjoy the holidays at their appropriate time.
    The only disagreement I have is regarding those black-eyed peas. Every New Year's day. Just a spoonful of those ghastly things. Couldn't hurt.

  6. I see the Christmas Snoopy. But have you ever seen Santa Mouse?

    Laughing said: "I think that if you are going to do the whole Christmas decorating thing that you have to put up the lights and such when it there is still relatively nice weather."

    Around here, that would mean sometime in early September.

  7. yer lucky that your sears sells paint. our sears stores got out of the paint racket and i had to buy some paint from walmart this summer.

    by the spirits of emperors past, i hate walmart.

  8. laughing-- I see nothing at all wrong with decorating prior to the holiday as long as you don't turn them on months ahead.

    I've managed retail stores. It is very possible to stock priror to the holiday without making it obvious and it is easy to toss up a display that is pre-planned in short order. Most of the large companies hire people who specialize in display that literally pop up overnight.

    I also see nothing wrong at all with shopping early to get bargains or for the reasons you bring up. Good ideas.

    My objection is to the shameless way they shove the holidays down our throats way before the season to make a buck. I avoid the stores as much as possible until the season is here to keep from losing interest at holiday time.

    We have a big contest here each year and people are serious about it. They build and decorate long before the season... some even in summer are out there doing stuff. But no one turns them on before the contest starts. I am grateful for that.

    You brought up some good points.

  9. Suldog-- This was fun. I'm glad to have had the soap box set out for me to jump on! I feel much better now.

  10. BBC-- When I was growing up I had a Jewish friend who griped about the Christmas being forced down her throat. I love Christmas, so it does not bother me as long as it is in season, but I can sure see how it would annoy you if you were not into it.

    Thanksgiving is a weird holiday. I have a great post waiting for that season to arrive. You can't beat the food.

  11. dmarks-- I photographed a Santa Mickey Mouse, a Santa Pooh Bear, a Santa Pigglet and a Santa Tigger too. Disney is into the Santa business!

    We have folks climbing all over their roofs to hang stuff or build displays in the snow. They are fun to watch... that sense of antisipation and expectation. No one has been seriously hurt yet though.

  12. billy pilgrim-- I also hate WalMart. They don't have enough cashiers and you can't find any help when you need it... only when you want to be left alone.

    Safeway is on my list right now because every time I go into that store they have moved things around. I do not want to search for the friggin canned mushrooms. So I do not buy mushrooms in a can from them anymore. When they put them back I will. Nor will I pay a buck more to get the fresh ones because I can't find the canned ones. I'm trying to save money, not spend it. End of rant. ;-)

  13. Yes it sure does stink how marketing and advertising have ruined the holidays for us. It would be nice if they let us enjoy one for a little bit before we got bombarded with stuff for the next holiday. But I must say I am looking forward to Christmas this year because it will be the baby's first one and I can't wait to spoil him.

  14. Back when my mom was a kid, they didn't put up the tree until Christmas Eve and then took it down on the Epiphany. It was a religious thing.

    At my house, we put up our tree about 2 weeks before Christmas Eve and take it down on New Year's Day.

  15. i say we dump thanksgiving and celebrate xmas twice.

  16. Mr. Shife-- I absolutely loved Christmas with my kids. I have had so much fun picking out things that I know is going to thrill this one or that one, then watching their faces when they open them. There are few things as satisfying. You are going to have a ball playing Santa Shife. Makes me grin just thinking about it.

  17. Churlita-- Our tree was traditionally purchased on the first weekend of December when I was a kid. I carried that to my marriage where my husband added in improving on God's design by adding branches here and there as he deemed needed. It was a process that involved the tree, extra branches, a drill, a vacuum and generally speaking an audience that could not wait for him to just stop that and let them decorate it.

    We also get rid of it on New Years Day. We also chucked the old and broken toys on that day with it.

  18. My nature is to get through one thing before even thinking about the next project. That is how I get through my work, that is how I have wrangled my kids, and that goes for holidays too. All I am thinking about now is Halloween. The rest can wait. Halloween rules anyway :-)

  19. billy pilgrim-- Hummmm... you must actually get presents! I didn't usually unless it was something that the kids have made, which are of course the best treasures.

  20. PEGGY-- Oh how I recall Christmas in HELL! It's been a long time, but it is the reason that I am fond of fog. (If it was too foggy we didn't have to go to my grandparents house... yay!)

    Real Christmas tree lots... liked the one out at Blackstone and Shaw the best.

    I can also recall doing the holiday display window at the toy store... and my boss getting me good and drunk on Christmas Eve day. It sure made being nice to the customers easier but the wrapping paper job was a little sloppy.

    Yeah all the teachers are afraid of holidays. We have a winter concert and a spring concert. But my boss puts up a tree no matter what. We still say Merry Christmas if we want. And we collect things for the food bank as a school wide project.

  21. laura b.-- I am exactly that same way. Slow and steady wins the race for me. I'm no hare. Follow the numbers as they come up.

    I love Halloween too. Can't wait to see what the tag team goes as this year... wanna bet its wrestlers? Sookie will want to be a fairy zombie or something interesting for sure. She is never content with the typical costume.

  22. Peggy-- I forgot to say... I NEVER miss black-eyed peas on New Years. I've gone out in three feet of snow to be sure I get them in time. I do it, I just don't know why I do it. It's an imperative. Who started it and why? I do not know. Besides, I actually like the way they taste with green chilies, cumin and garlic butter. Yum.

  23. Um, I like Walmart even though at times check out is a bit slow. And you can always use the self service lanes if you want to, they go pretty fast once you get used to using them.

    But I don't use them very often, I'm a people person and those self service lanes don't got no tits on the other side of the counter. :-)

  24. Steve Harkonnen-- That's okay. You're entitled to your opinion too.

    Your name reminds me of Dune because of Baron Harkonnen. No offense. Every time I see it I think about that book.

  25. BBC-- Our WalMart does not have self-service lanes. But Safeway does. Boobs don't do much for my shopping experience.

  26. I adore Christmas. It's my favorite holiday. But I don't want to see any decorations for it before December 1st.

  27. Good post Ananda. I've created my reply at my blog. I'm very pro-Thanksgiving.

    BBC - you are awesome. Boobs and Thanksgiving are awesome too.

  28. Just read your comment about Christmas in Hell. Never had Christmas there, but I've been through Blackstone and Shaw too many times. Fog...is cool if you don't have to go out in it. And you don't know fog until you've driven through pea-soup crap in the Valley.

  29. Still have the tree lot on Blackstone and Shaw. Some things never change.
    Glad that you do the black-eyed peas thing. Your recipe sounds great. I don't know where that particular superstition began but I heard about it in 1999. You know, when the world was going to end. So I made a tub of those bad boys and gagged on them. But I still ate them. Thanks to me the world did not end when the year 2000 ushered in. Yes, you all have me to thank. I have learned to love those legumes and demand all friends and family eat just that little spoonful. Lots of adversity in the past few years but I just know it's those black-eyed peas that are keeping me here. And I don't mean the Wil.i.am or Fergie kind.

  30. Hey, there isn't a Safeway store in your town, stop yanking my chain. :-)

    Boobs don't do much for my shopping experience.

    Well, in case you didn't notice when I was there I walk around with my zipper down. It's that whole double standard bullshit, if they can show cleavage I can show a zipper down.

    And if you didn't notice, shame on you. :-)

  31. There isn't even a frigging parts house in her town, we had to go over the bridge of the dorks to the Washington side of the river to get some parts for her car.

    Not that I didn't like her lovely little town because I did. It's a very lovely little town and that frigging train that tried to run me down missed me.

    But I got a great picture of it that I will be posting.

  32. 3GirlKnight needs to wise up and stop posting pictures of his daughters. I know that he is proud of them but there are perverts on the internut that will take pictures like that and do sick things with them.

    What? He has no son? Hell, it's easy to make girls, you have the pattern in front of you. :-)

  33. 3GirlKnight--Thanks. I forgot you belong to the valley too. Ha. There are several of us here. Cool beans... I'll be over to see it.

  34. Peggy-- There has always been a Xmas tree lot there. That lot was a constant in my life. All our trees came from there.

    I'll have to research the black-eyed peas... I know it's southern. My mom's deal. I'll let you know what I find out.

  35. BBC-- The Safeway, WalMart and another Nappa are all in Hood Creak.

    Yikes... I didn't look!

    Yes, there is nothing at all in my very lovely but tiny town.

  36. Yes, there is nothing at all in my very lovely but tiny town.

    Bullshit, it's a really nice little town, it just hasn't got a Safeway and Walmart and parts house, but that isn't the end of the world.

    Hell, it's not even close to the edge of the world.

  37. Secret Agent Woman-- My holidays are wrapped up in my kids. Now the older two are big and have families of their own. Next to the youngest is an adult on his semi-own and the little one is on the way to 18.

    I have Larry now and a set of family over there that I am getting to know. I've no idea how to deal with that and holidays yet. Larry is the hub but I've no idea how far out from the hub it will go. Should be interesting. Larry being the hub because he is at the center of my attention. I tend to adopt people easily.

    Its going to be an interesting holiday season.

  38. BBC--Ha! I'm not saying its the end of the world, only that it gets boring if you are single and want to meet someone... that includes old and young alike.

    This is a town that is perfect to retire to or to raise a family where you do not have to fear for your kids as they play. It has good points for some folk. Unfortunately, it does not meet my needs.

  39. Hey, it's not my fault if you keep bumping into your X. :-)

    My town has over 20 thousand monkeys in it and I haven't found a suitable mate for me, so there.

  40. Peggy - Thanks for saving the world!

    Ananda - I think the holodays are too close together - why can't we spread them out thorught the year instead of smooshing them into 2 1/2 months?

    Could you fix that for next year for us?

  41. BBC-- No, bumping into X is a part of life that I cannot avoid. We are connected at the children.

  42. Crazy4Coens-- I second your thanking of Peggy for saving the world with black-eyed peas... Thanks Peggy!

    It is sort of a shame that the holidays are all smooshed together, but this year it is coming in handy for me... more days with Larry. ;-)

    I'll see what I can do for next year, but no promises.

  43. Well said.

    I was just thinking the other day, "Thanksgiving is just as stupid as Christmas, only cheaper."

    I feel a lot of pressure from advertisements and other people to not only have a good holiday, but have the BEST holiday. Have a perfect holiday.

    I don't like holidays. If I have a day off from work, I'd rather be asleep.

  44. Michael-- Thank you. Suldog got the ball rolling on it. But I must say, so many of us agree I wonder why we are all held victim by this greedy thing? I admit it, I am as well to an extent.

    One of the worst things for me, ironically is the family Christmas where we draw straws and take gifts for other family members. I fear greatly that I will choose badly and that family member will wonder what made me buy such a terrible gift.

    We are supposed to enjoy giving! Not be stressed out by it. Sheesh.

    I'm with you. I'd rather be sleeping.

  45. Yup, saw the Sears LAY AWAY LAY AWAY COME LAY AWAY commercial the other day - complete with elves...*sigh*

  46. Kathryn-- Welcome to Oodles of Funch! I hope you'll come back again.

    It is crazy isn't it?