Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Holiday at a Time

You might remember me mentioning the neighbors who had Halloween decorations up in early September. As I passed their house yesterday morning, I was greeted with a four foot pine wreath and Christmas lights. On November seventh. The best part is - they still have a big hanging skeleton and a witch decoration up on their front porch.

These people don’t just rush the seasons, they clump them all together. Happy Hallo-giving-mas. Or maybe Merry Hallowistmas. They could be taking the retailers’ approach and skipping over poor Thanksgiving altogether. I’m starting to see why some communities have rules about decorating.

I wonder if these neighbors take the same approach to everything. Do they skip ahead to read the last chapter of a book, but reread the same Family Circle every month? Did they potty train their kids at six months but bottle feed them ‘til first grade? Do they eat breakfast before going to bed, but stay in pajamas ‘til 3 pm?

Is this a sign of how overstretched are we – racing through special times and letting other things slide? I’m always curious to hear how people manage the stress of the holidays. Most people I talk to don’t really seem to enjoy the pressure of all that’s expected of them. I’ve learned that even if it comes with a twinge of guilt, I enjoy things more when I scale them down.

I’ll be pondering this, while fully expecting to see jingle bells AND Easter bunnies sometime in January.


Kim Kasch said...

I love the holidays - all of them. And, I decorate early but I never decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving is over. One at a time, please. I agree with that.

Ocean Girl said...

We do not have many holidays, in fact we only have two and out of the two one we celebrate "big". But still there is no display to bring out to reflect the celebrations.

Sometimes maybe we can get carried away having too much of a good thing.

Kelly said...

Oh, man that is one holiday confused yard!
I was so proud of myself that I put away all the Halloween decorations (there are so many of them!) the day after Halloween and put up my five Thanksgiving decorations. (though I have found a few spooky things I missed that still need to be put away...)

ICQB said...

When I was little, in grade school, the holidays seemed spaced apart and didn't run into each other.

We had the black cats and jack-o-lantern decorations. Then a break.

Then the colored leaves and cornucopias and the week where we made drums out of oatmeal containers, turkeys from our hands, and headresses with colored construction paper feathers.

Then snowflakes. And just before the holiday break from school there were santa faces with cotton-ball beards and dreidels made out of clay.

And it seemed like a long time between each one...

LW said...

Are they an older couple? Maybe it takes longer for them to get things done so they get a head start.

I concentrate on things I love, I love Christmas so I start early…I don’t start decorating until December because
I have real trees and use things from nature. However, I have started making tags for gifts, have done some Christmas shopping, and have gotten my Christmas wrapping paper out that I bought on sale last year.
I enjoy every second of doing and planning for this holiday except the house cleaning.

Now thanksgiving it a holiday I pass off to anyone who will take it...
It is not that I do not give Thanks, I just hate to cook… So it is off to my daughter’s house this year…


adrienne said...

Kim - I love the holidays, too!
Feeling rushed, I can do without... :)

Ocean Girl - I think I've never gotten used to the way people decorate in my neighborhood. They tend to go overboard with things that don't mean much to me, like eight foot inflatable balloon Santas...but to each, their own.

Kelly - I'm always late putting some things away, too - maybe that's one reason I don't like to put too much out in the first place!

ICQB - That's the way I remember it too, and I don't think it's just that our perspective has changed. My kids don't like seeing all the Christmas stuff up already - even in the stores.

Louise - I agree with your approach. I try to start some things early, so I'm not racing around later. And I like cooking AND leftovers, but once in a while I'm happy to let someone else cook Thanksgiving dinner!

PJ Hoover said...

I decorate over Thanksgiving break and take down sometimes even before January 1. I love getting it up and can't wait to get it down.
But yet, we do rush through things. That's why with holidays, I try to keep in a pattern.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That's pretty odd. I'm kind of specific about my holidays. All the Halloween stuff came down by now, but fall is up until after Thanksgiving. Then it comes down to make way for Christmas. Winter stuff (snowmen, etc.) can stay up until Easter. Then it's gone. The whole of it up all the time makes is unspecial.

Ara Burklund said...

Too funny! Although I must say, I wasn't laughing when I checked through my kids' trick-or-treat candy, and I noticed someone gave them Easter candy. Blech!

adrienne said...

PJ - I wish the stores followed your pattern - I had to listen to Christmas music today while shopping! At this rate, I'll be sick of it by Christmas.

Green Girl - I used to tell the kids the same thing about the Christmas videos - they won't be special if we watch them all the time. But I like keeping the snowmen around all winter, too - even if we don't have snow!

Ara - Leftover Easter candy for Halloween?? Gee, Halloween just got scarier! :D

Rena said...

It's crazy with some people, isn't it? Just the stores alone overbuy for Halloween. I don't know what they're thinking. Not everyone builds a graveyard in their front yard.

I've gotten to where I keep all our Halloween decorations in the classroom. They're mostly the kid's crafts, so they fit in there. Then what few Thanksgiving stuff I have goes into the dining room only. Christmas is another story and that takes up the entire house pretty much.

But I agree -- one at a time!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hilarious about your neighbors. I love how people can be so funny.

I'm with you on the scaling down. I may sound like Scrooge, but I seem to be doing more Christmas stuff with just my family and close friends and less with everybody else.

Lilfix said...

They must work for the retail always amazes me at how early stores decorate for a the time I'm starting to get use to a holiday...I feel like I should be celebrating the next one...sigh...

adrienne said...

Rena - Decorating for Halloween gets bigger every year. I would think stringing up lights once a year would be enough, but people go all out here!

Becky - That sounds very UN-Scroogelike to me!

Brenda - I think the TV commercials are starting earlier every year, too. Sigh.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I loved the way you contemplated this...

I truly believe in the opposite approach. Take one thing and a time and enjoy it for waht it is. Plus, Thanksgiving and Autumn decorations are my favorite.

Mary Witzl said...

I always love holidays in theory, but in practice, I've slipped and slid a lot in the last few years. Last year, we had our Christmas tree up until -- no, I'm too ashamed to say it in public. Let's just say that we could have given your neighbors serious competition.

I've never had jack-o-lanterns out with Christmas wreaths, though. Be thankful for small favors.

prashant said...

Sometimes maybe we can get carried away having too much of a good thing.
Work from home India

Lily Cate said...

We do not put any Christmas stuff up until after Thanksgiving, and it all comes down the first week of January. It gets harder to do this, though, when the craft store starts putting out the candy canes and santa hats in JULY. At least the radio station- which started playing carols all day on Nov 1 last year- is holding out a little longer this year!

I love my grandma's stories of christmas decorating, because when she was a kid, her parents put up the whole tree and everything on Christmas Eve while the kids were asleep. And they used real candles,so someone had to "man the tree" all day while it was lit :D

sruble said...

I like that the Christmas stuff is up with the Halloween stuff. It shows that they might have an inkling of how moronic they are being.

At the grocery store, they had Christmas tunes on Nov 1, so I complained (a lot) to the manager. The next week they didn't have Christmas music :) Although I"m sure they will this week, since everyone else has it on now. It's suddenly Christmas at all the stores this weekend.

The songs and decorations are special (or supposed to be) because they are only around once a year ... or at least that's the way it used to be.

"Most people I talk to don’t really seem to enjoy the pressure of all that’s expected of them. I’ve learned that even if it comes with a twinge of guilt, I enjoy things more when I scale them down."
---I totally agree with this, even though it's not always possible.

Merry Hallo-Thanks-Mas!

BTW, many years ago, there was a Broom Hilda comic about the smashing together of holidays, just like at the mall. It was excellent.

adrienne said...

Pseudo - It's such a shame to skip right over Thanksgiving. The colors of autumn are so beautiful.

Mary - Putting away the Christmas stuff is a task I loathe. It's a good thing our house is small and the decorations get in the way - otherwise I'd put it off too!

Prashant - It's true - too much of a good thing and it's not special anymore.

Lily - My mom's family did everything the night before, too. Thank goodness that's not expected anymore - I think that would do me in.

Stephanie - Way to go, complaining to the manager! I never think of things like that. And, I forgot all about Broom Hilda! :)

sruble said...

I usually don't think of it either, but it was the day after Halloween! And besides, the manager made the mistake of being right there when I was telling DH how wrong it was!