It is not the holidays! Not yet.
So could somebody please tell the people down the block who have a fully decorated Christmas tree occupying their living room window, in plain sight, on Friday, November 19th? And their neighbors, whose trees are dripping lights, which they are turning on in the late afternoon, before some of us have even left work. And the stores, which have been piping carols and holiday lilts for weeks now. Especially the department store chain which seems to have determined that we will all buy more if greeted at the door by a "holiday scent," which permeates every section from toys to cookware, and lingerie to collectibles with an odor resembling a moldy Christmas tree. And the mall my grandson and I ducked through last Monday--on November 15th!--where Santa was already in residence, complete with elves and pictures-for-purchase.
I don't want to be a Grinch, or a Scrooge, or worse, yet another grouchy malcontent holding forth on the subject of too-early commercial holiday promotions. But I am finding the whole thing increasingly oppressive. I'm having a hard enough time managing the pesky black dog of depression that comes to sit by my hearth in the waning light of autumn, and dealing with the press of work and the backlog created by my flagging energy and lousy boundaries. Being nagged about "the holidays" every time I step outside the door, turn on the TV or radio, or pick up the newspaper is pushing me over the edge. The effect of this communal gun-jumping is that I am made to feel even more behind than I actually am.
The sight of jillions of people cramming into retail establishments for early November "doorbusters," weeks before "Black Friday," is a guaranteed downer for me. So few of us can afford to spend like that anymore, if we ever could. Many will spend too much of the new year "decluttering" our homes after filling them with another season's detritus. And surely everyone sees through the "50%/60%/70% off!" ruse that fails to disguise the recent doubling and tripling of original prices.
As a Unitarian, I do not personally connect strongly with the movement to "put the Christ back in Christmas." I am as much an appreciator of Hannukah and Kwanzaa and Dewali, as of the yuletide traditions I grew up with. But I am absolutely opposed to hype and pressure and materialistic overspending, no matter its ritual umbrella. And to "ringing [it] in" before its time.
So please don't wish me Happy Holidays until at least December. And don't ask me to save the ailing economy by putting it on my Mastercard. Me and my dark furry companion will be celebrating serenity and the end of the plunge into darkness in 32 days. And counting.