And so it starts

Sunday night I looked out the window and saw, up the hill, that one of our neighbors had Christmas lights already. It was the 11th of November.

In past years on my block, several neighbors got into the decorating thing to the point where all the fun is gone. Three million watts of blinking Christmas cheer just suck the excitement from us five-strands-of-lights decorators. I like lights in the bushes and around some windows. The “lights as a sign of my manhood” crowd light up everything on their house that doesn’t get out of the way. It’s the suburban equivalent of two antelopes on Wild Kingdom slamming their chests against one another.

On Monday the 12th, I turned on the car to hear–first thing on the radio–that it’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Uh, no. Not yet. Give me at least until Thanksgiving, okay?

Not a chance. I took the Kiddos to the mall to buy winter boots. Everything is wreaths, red and green. Santa is there. Ornaments are out. Hickory Farms is giving out free samples. We are, in a word, doomed.

I had the kids take pictures with Santa now, when there was no line. And here’s a nice surprise: at the end of December, when the kids visit Santa, they get a five-cent candy cane. You know what we got? Lindor chocolates. The early bird catches the good swag.

Kiddo#1 said he’d take anything Santa couldn’t give away, then said he’d like some coal. Santa said he was sure Kiddo#1 had been good, so Kiddo#1 asked for TWO pieces of coal. I was about to say something about the cost of heating the house when he said it for me. Smart kid.

Kiddo#2 wants a CD of Frippletown to replace the one that got destroyed. Kiddo#3 wants a stuffed otter. He wanted me to ask for it, but when I played stupid (“You wanted shoes, right?”) he overcame his terror of Santa and proudly asked for it. Picture got taken. Mission accomplished.

As I was paying for the photos, Kiddo#3 looked distressed. “Where my otter?”

Ah. I see someone missed out on a very important part of the concept here. Cue me explaining when Santa comes and when Christmas actually is.

Yeah, it’s going to be a long rest-of-November and most-of-December. It’s way too early for this.


  1. Jason Block

    well, Phil…count me as an a stodgy old curmudgeon. I can not stand this blatant pushing out of Thanksgiving so the stores can start their commercial orgy of buy buy buy and not remembering the true spirit of the Christmas season. it truly bugs me.
    That is why I started something that my friend Joe does. I do not even think about doing Christmas and Hanukkah shopping until the day after Thanksgiving. I remember in my day when I was a kid…no ads, specials etc were broadcast until after Santa was shown on the Macy’s parade. Then it was the Toys R Us ad and then it was on. Not this November 1st baloney.

  2. Patient Husband

    I can usually ignore the lights. For me, the equivalent was when the kiddos came home from the library with “Henry and Mudge and a very Merry Christmas” this week. I like the book, but I wouldn’t be sad to find out that our renewals won’t last quite all the way until Christmas…

  3. patricia Gonzalez

    Amen! It’s started in my area as well. What a pain, and how sad to spoil the real celebration of Christmas, which actually BEGINS on December 25! But one does what one can — I tape any interesting TV shows and FF through the commercials, and avoid shopping until the end of November. Meanwhile, I just pray a lot and ask the Lord to help me hang in there till Midnight Mass!

  4. Diinzumo

    You have been busy!

    A friend emailed me to complain that her neighbor had put up his Christmas lights across the street on November 1, right where they would shine in her window.

    My response: “Happy Hallowthanksmas!”

    Her reply: “[Not for a family blog]”

    It’s not December yet. I don’t yet feel inclined to haul out the decorations to match the Rite of Manhood going on behind my house (loved your description of that). Of course, it doesn’t help that it’s 85 degrees down here, and we’d be better off making The End of Hurricane Season an official holiday.