Sunday, December 19, 2010


“It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you’ll be of good cheer. It’s the most wonderful time of the year” . . . with everyone yelling the Christmas season started way too early and does it really have to be so commercialized and whatever happened to the real meaning of Christmas and can’t we all just get along?

The only reason Christmas has been able to stake out so much acreage on the yearly calendar is its popularity. People love the decorating and the giving and receiving and the glad tidings and Rudolph’s bright nose and the associated winter holidays like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and stores and other commercial enterprises are thoroughly thrilled by the likelihood of increasing their bottom line and nothing does that better than great big “Christmas Sale!” signs as early as possible.

Some day we may indeed witness Christmas displays going up just as the Independence Day bunting is taken down. And the only thing that could suitably follow that catastrophe would be the entire city becoming one big year-round Christmas in July gift shop.

It’s not just people who are griping. Other holidays are feeling shoved out of the way and they are beginning to speak up. At a fictitious city council meeting recently held in the city of [name removed], several holiday symbols, including a menorah and a cornucopia, protested a 7-0 vote to drape tinsel on the lights on Main Street in mid-October. No arrests were made, but there was some serious tension when the menorah began waving around its lit candles.

Rather than civil unrest, I think there is a better way. For example, instead of mindlessly complaining that Halloween’s formerly sacred time is being invaded by the spirit of Christmas, folks should adopt some Christmas images for October 31. That will simultaneously prove the point while taking all the air out of Santa’s posturing. It’s so annoying when he struts around his North Pole workshop saying, “Who’s your daddy? That’s right, Santa’s your daddy.”

Next year, if you don’t like seeing Christmas starting up too early, stand up and fight back like the Angry Menorah (holiday symbol trademark pending). Pass out candy to everyone who comes to your front door throughout the fall season. Decorate your house with orange and black lights. And try some of the following ideas in your neighborhood to bring back the miracle of Halloween.

Send your kids out in reindeer ninja costumes, with sharpened antlers and brass hoof plates. Have them team up with other, similarly clad, children. Suggest mild forms of vandalism for them to perpetrate, whilst singing Christmas carols in scary voices.

Plant a few red, fuzzy Santa arms coming out of the front yard. This effect will be enhanced by some nearby gravestones. “R.I.P. St. Nick.” “Here lies Kris Kringle.” That kind of stuff.

Modify one of those now common Halloween decorations, replacing the witch with Santa and his sleigh. It’ll look like he slammed into a tree, no doubt killing the pilot and destroying the many gifts therein. Ho ho ho indeed! Cheerful scorch marks will add to the merriment.

Send Halloween cards to friends and family with a letter itemizing all of the horrible things that happened to you in the last year. Invent your personal catastrophes if you have to! Include photos of a Christmas tree aflame, with your children dressed as little evil elves, standing around the burning Tannenbaum toasting marshmallows made of the heads of little angels.

When setting the scene for this pictorial family memory, remember to watch out for molten, dripping tinsel, as that could cause major burns. Unless you plan to use such a misfortune for next year’s misery letter.

Any Frosty the Snowman rolled up in your front yard (for those of you lucky enough be digging out of October snow) should have a maniacal Jack-o-lantern face, carved out of ice with warmed utensils. A knife stuck in the ice crystal head would be a nice touch, and perhaps a spatter of ketchup.

Try any or all of these brilliant suggestions. No longer do earlier holidays have to suffer the transgressions of Christmas. Labor Day can be celebrated under the mistletoe. Easter decorations can be spruced up (and made more dangerous) with pointy holly leaves. Cheese logs for Flag Day, turkey-flavored candy canes for Thanksgiving, and nothing says Memorial Day like a poinsettia slowly dying on the living room coffee table.

Take that, Santa. Two months later, when Halloween is a memory and Christmas rolls around again, tell everyone you know that the bearded fellow will now be known as Svatý Mikuláš (that’s Saint Nicholas in Czech). It sounds ugly in its native tongue, and he brings potatoes and coal for the naughty kids. Brings to mind Charlie Brown and “I got a rock.” Halloween will have invaded Christmas.

The kids who have been nice will have to fend for themselves. Perhaps by going door-to-door and begging for candy!

Problem solved.

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