Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
At the Christmas party hop
Mistletoe hung where you can see
Every couple tries to stop
“Who doesn’t like Christmas music?” Eli asked me this on our donut run this morning. His friend John slept over, and they needed a breakfast of fat and sugar to start their day correctly. Yesterday, Susan and I stopped for donuts as we drove out of town to meet my father for breakfast. It’s a ninety-minute drive; we already felt hungry. We Canns like our donuts.
Today’s November 10th. We’re about midway through autumn. This afternoon I went for a bike ride in a t-shirt and shorts. That’s a short-sleeve t-shirt; I’m not feeling Christmas. But Eli’s got a point. Christmas music is catchy. And even though it was eight o’clock on a Sunday morning, I sang along with Brenda Lee. Note: I sang along in my head. While the rest of my family all have nice singing voices, and Sophie actually has a great voice, I don’t. If I’m alone in the car, I’ll shout along with anything I know. If someone else is with me, I keep my mouth shut. I’m one hundred percent tone deaf.
But I’ve already stated the problem, it’s only November 10. In six more days, I’m going to be sick of Christmas music… with forty more days to go.
Yes, I know, it’s hardly original to write about Christmas creep. Everyone complains about lights and wreaths showing up in Walmart in mid-October. Sophie works at a clothing outlet store on weekends. Christmas music has been on shuffle since November first. At home, Sophie is usually the Christmas creep problem. On October 31st, when we shut off our porch light and declare Halloween over, Sophie digs into the left-over candy and fires up Christmas tunes on her iPhone. She went to a party this year instead. And the next day she worked; she hasn’t once turned on Christmas music this year. I think she’s already gotten her fill.
A new Michaels craft store just opened in Gettysburg. We moved here fifteen years ago, for the first fourteen, the only place to go shopping besides Walmart was The Outlets. We have a tiny outlet mall, just two rows of stores line a driveway with intermittent sections of slant-in parking. There’re probably fifty stores, but only five we would ever shop in. The food court sells Auntie Annie pretzels, Subway subs, pizza and barbecue. That’s it, just four restaurants. It’s a tiny mall. Anytime we wanted to buy something that we couldn’t find at Old Navy or Walmart, we had to drive thirty-minutes to the closest city. I loved that. We never bought anything.
Suddenly, we have Michaels. And Marshalls*. And they’re talking about tearing down our little Walmart to build a Supercenter. Civilization is encroaching on my small town, and I don’t like it. But the rest of my family does. They walk around Michaels, singing in tune with the Christmas music and fill the cart with Christmas decorations. OK, in truth, all we got was a three-foot light-up tree, but this is where it all starts.
*Marshalls is the biggest problem. They sell the items that other stores didn’t. Since you don’t know what’s going to be there from one week to the next, you don’t go there to buy a certain thing. You go there to buy something.
When we got home, Eli made a beeline for the basement to pick out some decorations to keep our little tree company. We don’t have much of that sort of stuff. He picked out a wooden cutout of the word NOEL and a nutcracker and ugly stuffed satin Santa Clause. He lit up the tree and the season began. Even Alexa got in the game: “Alexa, play Christmas music.” That was November 3rd.
I’m happy to report that I’m not the only Christmas curmudgeon in my family. While Eli and I were out mountain biking this afternoon, Susan went around collecting Satin-Santa and the rest of the decorations and bagged them up in the garage. While we can’t control what they play on the radio and how they decorate stores, we can control our own household. And mid-November is just too early for the Christmas season to begin. Maybe I’ll change my mind if we get some snow.
The ghosts from Christmases past: