Friends, I hate to break the news to you, but it’s time for yet another dispatch from the ever-raging War on Christmas. Time flies, doesn’t it? Can you believe it’s already the yuletide season? How quickly, in our ever-churning, madcap world, does the calendar flip to December!
Ha! I’m kidding, of course: It’s not even Thanksgiving yet. It’s not even late November. The proverbial piles of America’s kitchen-counter decorative gourds should not have yet, at least in theory, lost their warming autumnal glow. Regardless, the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island found itself gargling piping hot streams of outrage over the weekend—not over gourds or turkeys, but over its new, “politically correct,” glacier-like Santa display.
Gone, alas, were the “traditional holiday village” and Christmas wreaths at the storied Roosevelt Field Mall. “Santa’s helpers weren’t elves,” as the New York Post reported, “but regular folks with red ties, covered in white snowflakes.” Egad! Puzzled parents called mall management, and mall management told the puzzled parents that Santa’s rather weird new digs were streamlined in order to avoid offending anyone.
Woops. People were offended, all right—hard-core mall Santa fans, in particular—and they took to the Internet to share their dismay. “Like a herd of spooked reindeer,” the New York Post report continues, rather delightfully, “mall management quickly retreated from the politically-correct display.” A more traditional holiday setup, according to the latest reports, shall return once more.
Let’s Remember Which Month of the Year Comes First
Well. I also find the great Roosevelt Field Mall Christmas Skirmish of 2015 to be a completely outrageous outrage, but it’s not so much about the lack of elves lurking around a likely jaded Santa’s display. It’s because, as I hinted above, IT’S NOT EVEN THANKSGIVING YET.
Before the union of mall Santas starts sending me e-mails with the caps-lock key on, look: I love Christmas, too. Yet, on various radio stations across the country, a quiet form of torture, straight from the suburbs of Hades, has already begun: All Christmas music, all the time. It’s a repetitive, hypnotic mélange of the worst of Paul McCartney and The Chipmunks and Tom Petty, tossed occasionally with the strange and mystical best of Mariah Carey. It is a mad, toxic potion, enough to make history’s bravest souls, including our scrappy, feast-bearing friends Squanto and William Bradford, cower in fear.
True story: A friend of a friend, who lives in a town in central Texas that shall not be named, was recently approached by a concerned neighbor. This neighbor was worried that said friend of a friend had hit some dire financial straits. The reason? They had no Christmas lights adorning their house, no wide-eyed reindeer in the front yard, no giant, inflatable, gift-clutching Snoopy that keeps deflating every other day in the wind.
In other words, in this concerned neighbor’s mind, the only reason said friend of a friend would not have a house fully emblazoned with Clark Griswold-style yuletide cheer on November 2 was bankruptcy or Chapter 11—and not, you know, the fact that IT’S NOT EVEN THANKSGIVING YET.
Thanksgiving Can Make Money, Too!
Cynics might note there is no money in Thanksgiving. Through this lens, it is perfectly natural that America—an industrious and cheerily capitalist sort of place—would shamelessly jump on the dollar-fueled, gold-trimmed Christmas seasonal sleigh as soon as possible.
My response to this is simple and, in my mind, indisputable: One should never underestimate the appeal of nostalgic countertop squash. Americans from all walks of life feel quite strongly about kitschy seasonal décor, and could likely be talked into purchasing all sorts of sculptural autumn produce and wrought-iron turkeys and reclaimed Russian Oak sweet potato stands and abstract marble cornucopia renderings if the good folks at Restoration Hardware would just put their minds to it.
One of the more viral pieces to ever go up at the website McSweeney’s, in fact, was a crazed, expletive-laden, satirical ode to the glories of “Decorative Gourd Season.” Here is the only passage I could find without swear words: “The next thing I’m going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers. Then I’m going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker. Why? Because it’s not summer, it’s not winter, and it’s not spring.”
You hear that, America? It’s not winter. It’s autumn. It is NOT EVEN, in fact, THANKSGIVING YET.
Do You Hear Me Now?
Yet, year after year, we’re collectively jumping the gun on Christmas, bumping it up on the calendar just a teeny bit more, crowding out not only Thanksgiving but now Halloween. In the future, will the wild-eyed mobs of Black Friday be released the day after, say, the Fourth of July? This would clearly lead to disaster, and not just because the inevitable bargain-basement “holiday” fireworks sales would be a questionable idea for everyone.
Familiarity, as most of us recognize, can breed contempt. This is true in many corners of life. I am, for instance, a very streaky breakfast eater. I find a morning meal that I like, and then I eat the same thing again and again, for months at a time, until one day I wake up completely grossed out. In the early aughts, I did this with seemingly innocuous Raisin Bran. Then it was Starbucks low-fat blueberry muffins, which I shall never touch again. Just this year, I almost did it with breakfast tacos, but since I’m getting older and wiser, I saved myself at the very last minute.
This, sadly, is what our culture is doing to Christmas. It’s a lovely, special holiday, slowly transformed into tragically over-served Raisin Bran that suddenly grosses everyone out. Together, however, we can fix this. You don’t even really need to stop the madness, America. Just save it for the day after Thanksgiving.