The Christmas carols started early this year. I had barely passed out my last package of M&Ms to the zombie doctor darkening my doorway when the first Santa made his debut on my television screen, harping about the remaining 8 shopping weeks till the big day. The stores gave in a day later, putting out the decor and having pre-pre Black Friday sales. God knows what the toy-of-the-year is this year, but I shudder when I think of all the parents and relatives waiting in line and having to switch their brains over to JackMerridew4.0 in order to bring home their child’s love in a box.
On the school front, I wonder what effect this prolonged holiday “cheer” has on the students. Is there an increase in the stress levels at home? Do this eight shopping weeks feel long and laborious? In a strictly qualitative way, I feel as though I notice kids to be crabbier after Halloween, in a way that never truly lets up until after the holiday break. It could be a myriad of factors, but I choose to believe that this forced holiday cheer that pounds down our doors as the last lonely trick-or-treater has something to do with it.
What is to be done? This may sound like a humbug post, but I do love Christmas. I will be the one with the radio up full blast on the day after Thanksgiving. But when the first messages of the holiday season are commercials about buying gifts, I begin to feel like Charlie Brown amid the shiny aluminum trees. I can only hope that families and schools are marking the true beginning of the holidays in a more love-and-joy manner. I want this year’s children to be able to feel what I felt when I was a little girl.