MATTHEW MORIARTY: Come On, 'Tis Not Yet Time for the Season
I saw a horrifying sight Wednesday.
I left the office of The Pilot in downtown Southern Pines and trudged through ankle-deep leaves on my way to ask Town Manager Reagan Parsons if he thought the Town Council meeting that night would be a long one.
There was a slight nip in the air, but I felt plenty comfortable in my corduroy pants and Oxford cloth shirt. I turned my head toward the Belvedere Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue, and that's when I saw them, their heads impaled on spikes.
It was Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman. A sound reached my ears. Silver bells. Silver bells. It's Christmas time in the city.
I looked around. There were wreaths to my left, red ribbons to my right. A sign in a window read, "'Tis the Season."
Already? 'Tis not, dammit.
I suddenly started noticing Christmas stuff everywhere. A charmingly hideous Santa sweater hung in the window of a thrift shop. At the Fresh Market, where I stopped to pick up a delicious turkey-and-Swiss panini, a display of chocolate Santa Clauses and candy canes met me. I eyed the chestnuts with deep mistrust.
The Christmas Creep had struck again.
Here we are, in only the second week of November, and Christmas has invaded our lives. Somehow I always get caught off-guard by this. I am just not ready to think about Christmas.
It matters not. Soon, fake snow will line every window on Broad Street. The town plans to begin putting up its streetlight wreaths on Monday. My editor, Steve Bouser, tells me that when he enters the Lowe's Home Improvement store, a dancing, life-size mechanical Santa greets him. Over at Wal-Mart, the garden center has been replaced by the Christmas center.
Oh, and then the worst will happen. At least one of the radio stations I listen to will begin broadcasting Christmas music exclusively. I'm surprised it hasn't happened already.
There are only three Christmas songs worth listening to before Christmas Day: "Bells Will be Ringing," "White Christmas" and "The Chipmunk Song."
Evidently, I'm way behind in spotting Christmas Creep. Steve said that the Lowe's Santa was already there, gyrating to a holiday beat, in mid-October. The first thing he thought was that it wasn't even Halloween yet.
I know you've heard this before. I've written this before. Heck, I do it almost every year. Steve wrote it last year. I'm more than a bit concerned that it's becoming a clich. But I'll make one last plea. Can we please agree that the holiday season (also known as Chrismahanakwanzika) doesn't start until Thanksgiving ends?
I'm begging you. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It brings families together to give thanks for everything that they have. I love Thanksgiving. It speaks to the best part of human nature: recognizing that it's good to be alive and thanking whatever providence put you here.
Thanksgiving is wedged into the middle seat on an airplane between Halloween (window seat) and Christmas (aisle). Halloween doesn't smell too good, and Christmas weighs 300 pounds and won't share the arm rest. Each year, the two of them take up more and more space.
Soon Thanksgiving is going to scream "bomb!" and get dragged off the plane by the air marshal. What worries me most is that you, the other passengers, will sit by and let it happen.
Not me. I'm going to stand up for my favorite holiday.
Look, I'm not the Grinch. I really do like Christmas. I just don't like that it seems to start earlier and earlier every year.
I understand that retailers make a ton of money because of Christmas, and during these tough economic times that's nothing to scoff at. But with "Silver Bells" -- which, I'll admit, ain't a half bad Christmas song either -- still ringing in my ears, I saw the guys at a sushi restaurant putting up a Christmas tree.
How, exactly, does Christmas help you sell fish?
If my impassioned plea to resist the Creep and cling to Thanksgiving didn't touch you, I'll turn it over to Sports Editor Tom Embrey. I asked him what he thought of Christmas overshadowing Thanksgiving.
"Eating and football are two good things," he told me.
Yes, they are, Tom. Yes, they are.
Matthew Moriarty is a staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com.
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