Way back in the time of the dinosaurs when I was a kid, holidays had a natural progression that spanned three months and didn't overlap at all. Halloween was the first holiday and eagerly anticipated not just because of the sugary loot that we knew would be ours after ringing on a lot of doorbells but also for the excitement of what we were going to dress up as. Carved Jack O' Lanterns, scarecrows stuffed with leaves, Kleenex ghosts, scary stories, and fun parties were all a part of one of the best holidays ever.
Thanksgiving was next in line with construction paper Pilgrim hats, turkeys drawn by tracing our hands, and a big meal where family and friends gathered around the table for the best feast of the year. Mom's best dishes were broken out of storage, you could eat as much as you wanted without getting yelled at, and items like cranberry sauce, mini-gherkins, and olives made an appearance on the table for perhaps the first and only time of the year in a cut-glass dish that you always forgot even existed!
Not until Santa arrived at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade did Christmas come into play. The day after Thanksgiving was when Christmas lights began to shine all over the place, carols were sung on the radio and everywhere else, the Nativity scene appeared in front of the local church, pagaents were reheased and performed at school, and you could go to the store to visit Santa and climb onto his lap, tell him what you wanted for Christmas, and maybe even walk away with a small candy cane secure in the knowledge that he'd do his best to get you your heart's desire. Christmas Eve could never come quick enough or be over soon enough as you waited in anticipation of Christmas morning to see what might be under the tree. It truly was magic and the most wonderful time of the year.
Now that I'm older the Holy Trinity of Holidays that I remember as a kid all seem to have blurred into one big holiday called Hallothanksmas - overlapping and wrapping around each other so much that you can hardly tell where one ends and the other begins. I have to be honest with you - I don't like it.
I hate the fact that when you go into a store two weeks before Halloween you're confronted with shelves and shelves of Christmas items already jockeying for place next to the plastic pumpkins and costumes and I hate it even worse when even before the ghosts and ghouls have had a chance to return to whence they came, stores have now moved into full-blown Christmas attack mode and TV commercials have done the same. Alas, Thanksgiving seems to be completely lost in the shuffle as the media starts to make their predictions for whether retailers are going to have a naughty or nice year and Hollywood pumps out holiday movies as soon as possible to also cash in on the bountiful spending of the season.
It's all very sad if you ask me and I want my separate holidays back. I don't want my holiday cheer to be drowned in the commerciality of the season where the focus now seems to be more on what you want and what you get. That's not what the holiday season is supposed to be about but retailers seem to run right over Thanksgiving in their hurry to cash in on their own tidings of great joy in the form of greater consumer spending.
I know it's never going to happen but I really wish that we could enjoy November and Thanksgiving before Christmas encroaches. I don't know when the holidays all changed but I sure do miss having one in October, one in November, and one in Dcember. I can't possibly be the only one, can I?