What does the picture on your wall calendar look like? If mine wasn’t a calendar of lush tropical island views, it would probably have a Norman Rockwell-type scene of a family gathered around a table. Or maybe it would have some variation of the “Give Thanks” theme. I can tell you for certain what it wouldn’t depict: Santa or a Christmas tree or a snow-covered wonderland. Those are all reserved for next month–December.
So why, then, do more folks than ever have their homes decked out for Christmas already? Over the weekend, I was stunned to see so many cases of jumping the holiday gun:
- Friday, November 19: An evening trip to Wal-Mart revealed their garden center full of cut trees ready for sale. Wonder what those “fresh” trees will look like come Christmas Eve?
- Saturday, November 20: At SuzyQ’s chorus concert, one family arrived with a fresh Christmas tree strapped to the top of their car. I guess they planned to rush home and start decorating it.
- Sunday, November 21: Outdoor decorations have cropped up in several neighborhoods near me. I saw everything from just routine lights on the porch rails to yards full of those hideous inflatable snowmen and Santas.
Christmas is more than a month away (33 days from today, in fact). We haven’t even broken into December yet. I get why the stores start stocking Christmas merchandise even before Halloween. They want to stretch every dollar possible out of a shopping-mad season. I’m a free-market gal, so I can’t condemn retailers trying to make a profit, no matter what my personal feelings on the commercialization of Christmas may be. I don’t know how the store employees can stand listening to the same rotation of Christmas music for 2 months straight, though.
But why on earth would anyone be so eager to get their lights and yard decorations up this early except to be able to say, “I was the first on my block.” Do these people rationalize, “I’m already up in the attic putting away the Halloween decorations, so I might as well get the Christmas stuff while I’m up here”? It’s not as though this past weekend was the last chance to do outdoor decorating before the snows come. In my part of the country, we’ll be lucky to see a dusting of snow in late January. In fact, the leaves are still falling off the trees here, so will these folks rake around the giant reindeer or just use the leaf blower and risk sending Rudolph up, up, and away for real?
This obsession with being first kind of baffles me. Why camp out in line to get tickets to the first “Harry Potter” movie airing when you know it will be shown on at least 8 other screens, 6 times a day, for the next 4 weeks? Why subject yourself to the stampede trying to get the new iPhone on the first day it’s available in stores? It’s just as good 3 weeks later. What sort of status comes from being the First? Does anyone really go around thinking, “Gee, I’m definitely going to sleep out on the sidewalk for a week to get the next new iPhone so I can be as cool as that guy.”
For the record, we typically are the last family on our block to decorate for Christmas. And we will be the ones trying to figure out if we missed the last recycle pick-up for our tree, too. Having a Christmas tree on the curb in front of your house halfway through January–now that’s status.