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November 30, 2009

Rushing the Holiday Spirit

IMG_1476_rot Thanksgiving at my sister's house was close to perfect - from the table settings to the array of food and pies. But one thing she did surprised me: We partied to a soundtrack of Christmas music.

Don't get me wrong: I love the holiday songs, from "Adeste Fidelis" to "White Christmas" and everything in-between. But the urge to get into the Christmas spirit earlier each year makes me crazy.

I don't want to hear Christmas carols or see holiday decorations until at least the day AFTER Thanksgiving. Sadly, I think I'm part of a dying breed. My neighbors started putting up their lights a couple of weeks ago, and some of the stores I frequent began selling holiday merchandise in late September. 

Moreover, the last thing I want to do the morning after Thanksgiving is get up in the middle of the night and head off to Wal-Mart or Target and go shopping. Fighting crowds and jostling for the best bargains is not my idea of a good time on any day - and it's certainly not a good idea after a hangover-inducing evening of eating and making merry.

I understand the trend and why it's come to be. Our consumer-based economy has been in the doldrums for a couple of years. Christmas sales make up a huge portion of retailers' annual revenue, and the marketing folks parse the Black Friday numbers with dread and anticipation as they try to extrapolate what they will mean to the bottom line at the end of the year.

Lately, I don't think they add up to much. There's a lot of activity on the day and a ton of sales... but for the last few years, retailers have had to keep advertising bargains to ensure a steady stream of customers come in the door. And while the day after Thanksgiving is a huge event for shoppers, it's not the busiest day of the year. That distinction goes to December 24. I guess there are still more people who procrastinate than there are bargain hunters.

As for me: Now that we've had our Thanksgiving turkey and gone through the leftovers, I'm ready to enjoy the season. I'm loading the Christmas playlist back onto my iPod and pulling out the holiday decor. I'm even gearing up to get my shopping done. Now that Black Friday has come and gone, it's safe to enter the mall again.

Original post for Los Angeles Moms Blog and 50-Something Moms Blog by Donna Schwartz Mills. See more of her writing at her personal site, SoCal Mom.

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