It’s that time of year again. My annual reading of Doctor Who: Forever Autumn. When scary and kooky movies all come out to play on the TV. Monster themed candy. More turkey stuffing and turkey gravy and, well, turkeys at the supermarkets. Leaves start to change color as the trees begin their yearly cycle of dormancy. Animals frantically searching for food to place in their winter stores, and birds flying south until spring.
Yes. It’s that time of year. Marked by the distinct smells of clove, cinnamon, and the ever present Pumpkin Spice.
Christmas Shopping Season…. it has begun.
Ya’ll thought I was gonna say Fall or Autumn, didn’t you? Silly readers! You know the seasons go Spring, Summer, Pumpkin Spice Part 1: The Great Candy Grab, and Pumpkin Spice Part 2: Pumpkin Spice Clearance Sales.
We all say it every year when the first Christmas item is seen in a store well before Halloween is even here. Sometimes as early as when children return to school. We all say some variation on how the stores already have X out on the shelves when it’s not even Z yet. And how the holidays are meant for spending time with people you may or may not enjoy being lost on a deserted island with with 5 minutes. How the holidays weren’t so commercialized back in the good old days. So let’s all just get that out of the way now since we all know it’s coming anyway.
This year, I’ve decided not to complain. Yes, I’ve seen Dollar tree already setting out the Easter stuff right alongside St. Patrick’s Day and Valentines, while Christmas is being pushed closer and closer to the store behind Halloween. But I’m looking at it as an opportunity to observe, without complaint, the people. You see, we all bitch and moan about this – but nobody’s stopped to think how this actually benefits the little people. The middle of middle class and lower income earners who simply like to enjoy the holidays. They might like to decorate, or give out candy, or buy presents early. Especially at the cheap stores like Dollar Tree. Seeing these things now, that they can buy and hold back for the holidays gives them more time to get the little stocking stuffers that they’re kids love. Or gives teachers the chance to buy classroom decorations for the class party well before the stores run out. It gives grandparents on fixed incomes a way to buy the little trinkets and doo-dads with plenty of time to pack the goodie box to send their grandchildren for Christmas. People on tight budgets can’t afford to buy stuff for a holiday in bulk unless they somehow came into a big wad of cash, a surprise holiday bonus, or work themselves to death. Especially in this economy. So setting out the stuff at a time most people deem far too early is actually the best for the little guy who still wants to give his kids and family a halfway decent Christmas.
It’s taken me a long time to come to this realization, and in all honesty it took a 59 year old woman sitting on the end of my bed in tears of shock and joy that anyone actually thought enough of her to get her something good and decent when they could have simply blown their spare cash on useless stuff – it honestly took that experience Saturday night to get me to open my eyes and look at all of this “commercialized” holiday nonsense in a whole new light. While yes corporations and retail chains see it as a money grabbing opportunity, and a way to sell and push more product on the shoppers and consumers, they have inadvertently made it possible for the poorer people in our economy to take part in something that they otherwise would have had to put off. They have accidentally created a situation where those who can’t do but once a year may feel a little less ashamed for not having enough to do what they truly wanted to do for their loved ones and families.
So, having had this realization dawn on me, I’m actually going to enjoy observing people and their habits. Watch the bag lady’s face light up in Family Dollar as she manages to get a $1.50 pack of 30 generic greeting cards that she can use for the next few years to send to friends and family. Watch the overworked single mother who could never afford that $35 Playskool slide for her toddler light up when she can take it to the Walmart holiday layaway counter and be able to pay just enough every week from her McDonald’s paycheck to get it for the little tyke for Christmas.
And me? I’m going to write like hell during November for NaNoWriMo mainly because it’s practice, but partly because I’ve always talked about it but never followed through. This year, I’m following through with Pumpkin Spice fueled marathon writing sessions at night and very little sleep as I continue to function as I must during the day. And know that even on our fixed income, I’ll still be able to get my son some decent little clothes and toys for Christmas – especially since it’s all started to be put out so early.