By Esther C. Baird/Tri-Town Transcript columnist
First Published in the Tri-Town Transcript November 20, 2013
November. I’m not a fan. You know what I am a fan of? The so called ‘holiday creep’ that has occurred. The media likes to make a big fuss about retailers and their early sales or their crazy decorations, but let’s be honest, November needs a little sprucing up. Guns-N-Roses didn’t pen that little ditty, Cold November Rain, for nothing.
We plunge into darkness at 4:30 pm. The leaves are mostly gone. Pumpkins and hay rides are a distant memory of warmer October days, and I for one, will take anything cheerful creeping my way.
There is nothing magical about the brown and orange decorations of Thanksgiving. Nothing says, “sparkle!” about yet another construction-paper hand turkey. There’s no glitter in a gourd.
My plan was to switch my ring tone to a peppy Christmas tune on November 1st. But, just as I was about to stare into the heart of the prematurely dark Eastern Standard Time, just as I was on the verge of pulling out the down coats, just as I began the long fight to make crock pot meals interesting for the next six months, my husband went to San Diego and the opportunity for us to join him during early November presented itself.
I thought about pulling our girls out of school for about one half of one second. Three days later, we went west. To be fair, the sun still vanished into the Pacific by 5 p.m., but we consoled ourselves by looking at palm trees while we ate dinner . . . outside.
I walked the aisles of the California grocery stores and there was nary a festive holiday item in sight. It was a land that didn’t need a regional pep talk. But I knew that across the country, my own Stop and Shop was getting their sparkle on. No, I’m not referring to their most amazing new policy of selling beer and wine in what used to be the candy and books aisle. (Regular Readers may recall I wrote about the need for this six years ago . . . not that I’ve been counting.) But I refer to the holiday extravaganza. My Stop and Shop isn’t creeping, it’s exploding. And I love it.
Because we don’t live in SoCal, we live on the NoSho. It’s not just dark here, it’s cold. Lest you forget, we’ve already had a morning of snow. We don’t have palm trees, we have leafless trees. Afternoons with their homework and sports and extracurricular classes are already fraught with enough anxiety and tedium, but to do them in the dark is asking too much of this Mommy. I need, light. Strings and strings of it. The twinklier the better.
Of course I’m thankful at Thanksgiving. And I express my thankfulness via Christmas music, for example my zippy, little Christmas rock Trans Siberian Orchestra ringtone.
Oh, sorry, did you have an exciting Thanksgiving song you wanted to play? I didn’t think so. I’m thankful for bright festive colors, shirts that are bedazzled, jingling bells and the almost mandatory Hershey Kisses round each bend.
Christmas is what I’m thankful for.
“But Christmas can’t take 1/6 of the year!” my brother-in-law, who loves Thanksgiving,sighed.
Yes! Yes it can. You can eat your turkey AND wear find yourself standing under mistletoe. You can spoon some pumpkin pie AND sip some eggnog. You can eat cranberry jelly AND string cranberries for the tree: the lit and decorated, piney smelling, tree.
For me it’s not the creep of retailers and commercials, it’s the creep of Joy, the creep of Celebration, the creep of Noel Noel. It’s the creep of the holiday we celebrate in my faith that tells the story of true Light entering the world. In November what I need is light, lots of light, more and more light.
Next week I hope all of my Regular Readers have a wonderful, jolly, sparkling and Light-Filled Thanksgiving.
Casa Baird will be decking the halls.