I’m not an editor so I don’t normally editorialize in my columns. I’m a bit of a satirist, and a bit of a historian and a bit of a travel guide. But it’s come to my attention that Christmas is getting a pretty bad reputation due to the decorations coming out earlier and earlier. What is so shameful about this is that people are becoming hostile over the whole holiday. I understand that Halloween should be over before the decorations go up, but here is my take on the subject.
Our economy is harsh right now. People can’t afford to purchase big ticket items all at once. And so Layaways, begin again (I miss some of these all year around), giving you the chance to purchase and pay for those big ticket items on a two to three month time basis. As a great big reminder in your face, decorations and Christmas displays go up.
Hopefully the big it toy is out so people can buy it sooner rather than later. I mean lets not have huge fights and try to kill one another over a tickle me doll. Right there is a touch of that Satirist I was speaking of a bit ago. Oh, and why does it really bother you that Christmas decorations are going up early? You don’t have to get upset over it. Let that stress go too. Here are some suggestions that might help you along the way for next year.
Several years ago I opened a savings account specifically for Christmas money. It’s not a Christmas account where I get penalized for taking the money early. I opened the account at my local Idaho Central Credit Union, attaching it to my regular checking account. It’s called a Central Cents Savings Account. It works like this: If I spend $4.99 the Credit Union rounds that up and I get the extra penny put into my my savings account. So if I spend $4.01, then $.99 goes into the Savings Account.
Now it’s my money they are rounding up, so when you buy something and you have this type of account, you have to round up yourself in your register, but it adds up fast and helps me to save for those big ticket items. I use that money to buy Christmas presents and other important things like funding my travels. It adds up rather quickly, so I was able to finish my shopping, aside from stocking stuffers, by October of this year.
Other people save all their pennies in a huge water bottle, or they do have a Christmas account. I like to be done with Christmas shopping early to avoid the crowds and things not being in stock.
I buy gifts that people tell me that they want to get for themselves “someday when I have a bit of extra cash”, I make a mental note and when I have enough saved I go and buy it. The point of this is that I can get it done early, get the items that people want and I’ve avoided the stress of the holiday shopping.
But that’s neither here or there, I was speaking of the Christmas rush and all the hoopla surrounding it. I celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah since I have both Christian and Jewish family. I tend to say both “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” to people, because those are the holiday’s that I celebrate. I refuse to say the generic “Happy Holidays” to people.
If you celebrate something different, don’t get mad or offended if someone offers you a “Merry Christmas” as a greeting; instead, offer them a salutation of your choice of celebration. “Happy Kwanza” is nice way to reply if that is what you celebrate. If you celebrate nothing of the Holidays, than just tell that person to have a nice day. Because really why would you be offended that I celebrate Christmas and wish you a Merry one? I’m not meaning to offend you, I’m meaning to wish you Merry and be nice. This is a touch of the editorializer in me. (And yes I’m aware that editorializer is not really a word, but it works for my purposes here. * Satire? *)
Yes Christmas seems to come earlier every year, but it really doesn’t anymore. The displays are bigger, the colors are brighter and the items are larger, so there is no unobtrusive Christmas anymore. Instead of two or three choices of an artificial tree, there are 20 choices. All showing off their features and some even decorated to show just how it could look in your home. There are short trees, tall trees, sad little trees, and majestic full trees, there are even cashmere trees! They come in colors, and lit or unlit, with fiber optic branches and even spinning. There is the music that goes along with it all, just to get you in the mood.
Then there are the decorations. Since they are so expensive now you are given time to find the ones you want on the tree and add them to the mix. If you look at the decorations on the trees in the stores, you’ll find that they all have themes. You can make your tree look just like that if you have all those decorations.
I am kind of guilty of this myself as I don’t allow, plastic on my tree. It has to be glass, crystal, fabric, wood, metal, or a combination of any of those materials, but no “fake” stuff. This year I took a couple of trips and bought ornaments for the tree from Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. So I have glass, wood, and pewter ornaments to add to the tree this year.
As for gifts, I was talking to someone the other day and although she had her shopping done (also aside from the stocking stuffers), she told me that she was tempted to buy more. She would see something and it would be on sale so she wanted to get it, because it would be just right for so and so. Well here’s a hint, when you are done shopping, be done. Don’t get sucked into that mind set. The one that says, “but it’s on sale”. So what. If you already have the perfect gift for someone, then be done.
Does anyone else have that last minute gift for a “friend” thing? I mean people stop by and drop off a gift for you so you feel obligated to get them something too. I have just the idea for that. Every year I have decorated mason jars full of seasoned nuts. I also have homemade jams and jellies that are decorated for the holidays. This year I am making, Cinnamon Almonds, and Coconut Cashews to put into the jars. I made homemade Trifecta Marmalade and Cranberry Fool. I make sure that I have enough to give a jar of each to the drop by friends at Christmas.
So here’s a bit of unsolicited advice. Take advantage of the “early” Christmas. Get your shopping done early. Wrap as you get, not all at one time. Avoid the stress and Enjoy the holiday’s as they were meant to be. A joyous time for all. Don’t try to make the perfect dinner for the whole Famn Damily. (Satire), make a nice dinner that you all enjoy.
Don’t make an elaborate breakfast either. Enjoy your morning. Set out the fixings for Ziplock omelets, and let them make their own breakfast. It’s fast and fun, and everyone gets to eat what they like. Boil the water, get the freezer ziplocks out, get the eggs out, have some precooked bacon and sausage, and cut up veggies and cheese and let the family have fun making their own breakfast by putting what they want into their zip bag adding the whipped eggs and dropping it into the boiling water. Put your name on the bag and when it comes out…Viola’ you have you own omelet.
Enjoy the day with your family. And, oh yeah, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!