The Ottumwa Courier

September 27, 2013

What about fall?

By Tracy Goldizen
Ottumwa Courier

---- — Is it just me, or is Christmas coming earlier every year?

I feel like I find myself asking this question annually.

Now, I love the holiday season, putting up the tree, hanging stockings, shopping for and wrapping presents, Christmas carols and all that jazz. I even have a plan in my head for how I want to decorate my house for the Christmas season this year, especially since I didn't have space last year to even put up my tree. But I think it needs to wait its turn. We still have Halloween and Thanksgiving to think about. Remember those? Halloween is where little kids get dressed up in costumes and go out collecting candy. Thanksgiving is the day where we sit down with our families, eat a big turkey dinner and give thanks for all our blessings from the year.

As I was out shopping for fall decor the other night, as well as being out and about for other errands, I happened across Christmas villages, wrapping paper, ornaments, Christmas trees and the like. And I had to take a couple of passes through the aisles to find fall decor. Finding the Halloween stuff was much easier, but it was relegated to a few aisles, and the Christmas section seemed like it had already outpaced the Halloween display.

And I was really excited to have space to put seasonal (at this point fall) decorations up in my house. In our old house, we had living space for everyone but not enough for the "extra touches." After that, we lived in a condo for about a year so we wouldn't have to rush any decisions on our next house. So I bought pine cones, fake gourds and silk flowers in fall colors. My 2-year-old son got in on the fun by picking out a flower arrangement that is now the centerpiece on our dining room table. I even bought a Halloween display for our yard of a skull and hands that look like they're emerging from the ground. I really felt like the decorations helped bring some extra life to the house. I even have plans for a project for Halloween night that involves cardboard tubes, glow sticks and our front hedges.

And if you need further proof that Christmas comes too early, my 10-year-old stepson thought I was bringing Halloween too early. "Tracy, why do we have Halloween stuff up when it's not Halloween yet?" Just imagine what he must be thinking about saturation of Christmas displays lighting up our stores.

Even at work, I see the holiday skipping going on. We recently ran an article on how Walmart hosted a three-day weekend in August, yes AUGUST, for children to select their favorite toys for the holiday "hot toy" list. And I've already seen ads featuring holiday themes. Last I checked, Christmas was in winter, not the dog days of summer.

I understand that businesses have a bottom line and that Christmas is a big time of year for high sale volume. I understand that people want to shop early to help spread out the expense of gift shopping. But I'm afraid as this trend progresses, eventually Thanksgiving really will be forgotten. Last year, we saw stores opening their doors at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving for Black Friday sales. What's next? Black Friday shopping starts as soon as trick-or-treating ends?

I'm not saying you need to hold off on that perfect gift that's 50 percent off right now. Go ahead, buy it. Plan ahead. Be smart. Like I said, I already have ideas of what I want to do for the holidays. But do we really need huge chunks of our shopping centers set aside for holiday items in September? No, we don't. It gets nauseating.

So, I'm going to go ahead and take pictures of the boys in their costumes, sneak some of their candy and get sleepy off pumpkin pie and turkey before I break open my boxes of Christmas decorations. We owe Halloween and Thanksgiving that much.