Thursday, October 28, 2004

Tis What Season?

  Christmas is coming.  Santa Claus is loading up his sleigh.  In department stores across town, the eyes of children twinkle like so many Christmas lights at the mock stockings hung from mock fireplaces.  Soon it will be Christmas.  But they have something else on their minds.

  Yes, this time of year has always been a stressful one for kids.  I mean, it’s a big decision, trying to decide what to be for Halloween.  And now it’s being coupled with the year’s single most important decision: what to ask for this Christmas.  Under these circumstances, neither decision gets the attention it warrants.

  But those in the 10-and-under set aren’t the only casualties.  On Tuesday I went shopping for Halloween candy.  When I got home I realized I had little chocolate Santas.  Stocking stuffers!  Duped again!

  For college students, mid-terms are looming and they’re being bombarded with reminders that finals are just around the corner. 

  I realize that Christmastime is retail’s cash cow, but I can remember a time when the day after Thanksgiving kicked off the Christmas season.  One-stop shopping is great, but I don’t need to shop for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations on the same day.  In September.

  The movie industry is always quick to jump on the bandwagon of Yule, too.  Soon theaters will be filled with warm-spirited, child-oriented Christmas flicks.  It remains to be seen whether those will be hitting screens before Thanksgiving this year or not.  But I wouldn’t be surprised.  Trailers are already being shown for “Surviving Christmas,” the not-so-warm-spirited dark comedy that hits theaters soon.

  Television (and cable networks in particular) will be splashing Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and the neo-classic Home Alone across every station, every day.  And they’ll probably start within the next few weeks.

  Radio seems to be the last bastion of that time-honored tradition.  On the stations I help program, Hot 103 and Vista 98.7, Christmas music doesn’t hit the airwaves until the first of December.  We start off light and build up to Christmas Eve, when some of our stations go all-Christmas at noon.  But even then, we try not to play “Feliz Navidad” more than once an hour, and quite often we succeed.

  But, please, let’s not lose sight of reality.  It’s not even Halloween yet.  We have costumes to pick out.  We have an election to worry about.  We have Thanksgiving plans that have yet to be made.  So, as responsible proprietors, shop-keepers, and merchants, please put away the strings of lights and tinsel.  We know it’s coming, and you’ll get our business in due time, but we have other things to worry about right now.  I’ve got three Halloween parties this weekend, and I haven’t got a costume.

  Perhaps I’ll go as Santa Claus. 

-From Pulse
  October 28, 2004