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Surrendering to the Holidays

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
This past weekend I’m driving around performing some of my routine housekeeping chores when I am struck dumbfounded by the sight of Christmas decorations already in place at one of the local malls close to my house.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I suspect the majority of us are just looking for a few weeks of peace and quiet after having been subjected to almost a full year of election diatribe by all forms of the news media. This year it seemed to occupy our collective minds to the point where most of us were little more than zombies on Election Day. We stumbled our ways into the booths with one thought on our minds….’must get this finished.’ Our state was fortunate in some regard since the outcome here was never in doubt. Some voters in the so called ‘swing states’ had non stop radio and television advertising and up to twenty pieces of campaign literature sent to them each day. God save us all.

So, here we are fresh from the polling booths, ready to settle down for a few weeks of relative calm before the storm of the holidays and what happens? Why, they move the holidays up so they start advertising earlier. I’m brain dead after Labor Day, Halloween, National Elections…now we go directly to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year…. give me a break…. I bet there are folks in prison having more fun than we are.

This morning’s paper blares a headline…”Only seven weeks until Christmas.” Seven weeks? That’s just around the corner. No time to waste, no time to dawdle, certainly no time to rest. We’ve got to drag our old weary bodies out into the malls and start the holiday process over again. I’m not finished with July 4th and Labor Day. I’m not ready for garland and ribbons and stringing lights on the balcony, much less trying to find the one bulb in the string of lights that causes the entire string to short out.

Pray tell me this. We have put men on the moon. We have sent rockets to Mars and the outermost parts of our solar system. Why can’t we have a string of lights that work even if one bulb doesn’t cooperate? I truthfully believe this is a major conspiracy on the part of the Christmas light association to deprive us, no better yet disenfranchise (have you heard this word more than you want?) us for the enjoyment of Christmas. I despise, I hate, I loathe dragging those boxes out of the attic each and every year to sit down and spend hours untangling only to find that the thousands of bulbs absolutely refuse to glow simply because one bulb is on the fritz. What kind of a world is this we live in?

I feel certain as I sit here and write this article, somewhere in this country men are hard at work cutting down little trees and arranging them in huge stacks to be sent to the far corners of this country within the next few weeks. There they will be stood up and arranged on thousands of small lots waiting for the next sucker like me to come along and pay good money for one before they are sold out. The tradition then states that we drive this two-month-old dead piece of shrubbery into our living rooms where we stick it into a bucket of water and somehow expect it to revive. At the same time we are clogging our collective vacuums with pine needles trying to stay ahead of a losing game. The same mentality requires us to keep each and every Christmas ornament made by any of our children or their children and sometimes the children of neighbors until the end of time.

Some of my children’s earlier creations are somewhat abstract and require a certain amount of license to even consider that they were actually made by a human being. Only the Mother knows for certain that her child made this one and was his first attempt using glue, glitter, tissue paper and a clothespin. How she can see the Virgin Mary in this is simply beyond my ability, but then again perhaps I am being entirely too critical.

An old poem once had the line in it…”Ours is not to reason why….” Can it be that this must be the attitude we have to adopt when it comes to our annual activities? As sure as the elections roll around, so does Thanksgiving and Christmas. Perhaps I should quit fighting it every year and just get into the mood before it’s too late and I have to think about Valentines Day.

© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
Letters From North America >

November 10 , 2004 column
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