Weekly Column: The Holiday Police

©Stephenie Freeman

I’m officially electing myself the Chief of the Holiday Police. Those of you who have a jack-o-lantern rotting on your porch and Christmas lights hanging on your house—look out. I’m coming after you.

I’m not trying to be a Grinch, but holidays should be celebrated one at a time the way God intended. Anyone who eats their Thanksgiving turkey, starring at a fully decorated Christmas tree, while still wearing their Halloween costume is in clear violation of the rules and should be severely punished.

There used to be a time when Thanksgiving was the official beginning of the holiday season. Christmas didn’t officially start until you saw Santa at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For whatever reason, Christmas continues to get pushed further and further up. It’s getting so bad that eventually people will start putting up their Christmas trees on the first day of school.

Recently I woke up to the song “White Christmas” on my alarm clock. Half asleep, still dreaming, I felt like I was in the middle of a bad holiday movie. I half expected to walk into my living room to see Bing Crosby tap dancing with Danny Kay.

I quickly realized that it wasn’t Christmas morning and I wasn’t in the middle of a Christmas classic. Not even close. The radio station that I regularly wake up to decided to start playing Christmas music two whole weeks before Thanksgiving. I love Christmas music and look forward to it every year. I just don’t want to hear it before I’ve had plenty of time to fully digest my second helping of pumpkin pie.

There used to be rules about such things. Jack-o-lanterns were thrown away before the turkey was put in the oven. Christmas lights weren’t turned on until the turkey was picked clean. Christmas trees were dragged out to the curb before the New Year. And so on and so forth. The rules aren’t difficult to understand, so why are so many of us having trouble following them?

I have a theory: the holiday excitement forced upon us is just too strong. The stores sure don’t make it very easy. Every year the Christmas decorations start appearing earlier and earlier and we simply cannot help ourselves. We see the new LCD lights on display and the energy saving wattage fuels our excitement. Suddenly the tree is up and the lights are on before we’ve even made our Thanksgiving grocery shopping list.

It’s not just the stores that blend the holidays together. Children are some of the worst holiday blending lawbreakers. For kids Christmas excitement is year-round. It begins to escalate starting in October when the costumes start to appear which triggers some sort of reminder that a visit from Santa is just around the corner. If my kids had their way, we’d put up our tree as soon as we got home from trick-or-treating.

As I sat waiting in the carpool lane at school the other day, I couldn’t help but stare at a house across the street. Pumpkins sat bunched together rotting on the porch, a flag covered with cornucopia carrying pilgrims flew near the garage, and a festive Christmas wreath was hanging on the front door. I suddenly wasn’t quite sure what month it was or what holiday these people were actually celebrating.

So as the Chief of the Holiday Police, I plan on enforcing the rules that restrict all of the holiday blending that seems to be taking over the planet, even if it’s only in my own home. As you are reading this, the Golfer is up on the roof hanging the twinkle lights, the pumpkins are decomposing in the landfill, and the turkey leftovers have already been reheated and enjoyed. Just the way God intended.

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