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Here We Go Again

Why do I act shocked every time the stores pull out the Christmas merchandise before I’ve purchased Halloween candy (which has been sharing shelf space with the Back to School supplies since August)? Why do I let it gross me out year after year? I know it’s going to happen. But still….

I wandered into Lowes in desperate need of a new grill cover, only to find the entire “Outdoor Living” section replaced with inflatable santas, dancing reindeer, singing squirrels and several animated copyrighted  storybook characters waiting for festive families who have a front yard and an arsenal of heavy duty extension cords.

 I did find a box of ornaments in the shape of grills and BBQ tongs.  But still no cover for our grill—even in ornament form.

 A week later, the Lowes sales flyer arrived announcing their, “New Expanded Assortment of Holiday Decorations!”  Sure enough, on the top half of the front page, there were brightly lit artificial trees, live poinsettia plants and a wide variety of boxed lights.  The bottom half of the front page was delightfully educational. Who knew “Holiday Decorations” include stainless steel gas grills (but still no cover),  Keurig coffee makers, cordless power drill kits, flashlights, paint and socket wrench sets?

Then again I live in a wonderful town who holds their “Christmas Parade” 10 days prior to Thanksgiving and I seem to the only resident who thinks that’s kinda early…and no I’m not bitter just because they’ve yet to ask me to be the Grand Marshall. 

It’s not uncommon around here to see a dozen or so 30 foot tall inflatables in a single front yard and not a single gawking motorist has driven their car into the neighbor’s brick wall or giant bell ringing red hatted squirrel. I mean, that’s a good thing, but I’d rather use the electricity it takes to keep those guys inflated to chill my chardonnay.

I was trolling the mall in search of the Perfect Office Party Dress (pray for me). There were Christmas decorations in every inch of the mall — ceiling high ornately decorated spruce trees, bold banners announcing “Holiday Sales” and starched little kids lined up to see Santa. The mall corridors were lined with seasonal shops on wheels. The Hallmark store hid my favorite line of greeting cards in the stockroom to make way for singing, dancing and flashing Limited Edition ornaments and cards with red envelopes.

With each step I was accosted with the usual holiday retail hoopla until I stopped in front of the Nordstrom display window. The display consisted of, well, nothing, but a few tasteful cardboard boxes and simple lettering on the window:

 “You might notice our store is kind of bare.  We will not deck our halls until after Thanksgiving. Why?  We prefer to celebrate one holiday at a time.”

 God Bless you, Nordstrom. And do you happen to sell grill covers?


Karen Rinehart's columns appear Sundays in the Independent Tribune. Her website is KarenJRinehart.com.


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  • I used to do seasonal work for a portrait studio. We put our Christmas decorations up in September. I don’t blame the retailers, they’re in business to make money and the Holidays are very profitable. It’s good for everyone when retailers profit.

    The commercialization of Christmas doesn’t really bother me. We Catholics still have the real thing – Nativity scenes, Midnight Mass, O Come All Ye Faithful, and all of it. As much of that authentic grace that can rub off on the larger culture, even if it’s people buying inflatable Santas, I don’t see how it can hurt. All of us Catholics just need to spread the word better about how great we have it!