Can it be too early for Christmas?
It began innocently enough with an email from Tracy Simmons, FāVS director and my editor.
I help with the FāVS events calendar, posting items that she sends along. Easy enough and I certainly have the time. But her email last week asked me to post – and I am not kidding – a Christmas event.
It was a canary-in-the-coal mine moment, drawing my attention to other Christmas season precursors that might otherwise have escaped notice.
A few weeks ago, on Facebook, I saved a video describing a dinosaur-carrying toy truck that seemed like an ideal birthday present for one of my grandsons. I should know by now Facebook algorithms will then flood my feed with dinosaur toy ads, several of which urge me to order now in time for Christmas delivery.
We bought a new artificial Christmas tree last year from Amazon. Yes, I am now getting “buy now for Christmas” reminders from Amazon, as if we need another one or two because artificial Christmas trees are must haves for every room in the house (as my dear Carla believes).
Our cable provider is already offering Christmas music, as is Sirus/XM for the car. The Hallmark Channel did its “Christmas in July” movie marathon and is still slipping holiday-themed movies into the schedule.
I have yet to see Christmas decorations in the retail stores, but we can count on that before Halloween.
Folks, we’re still suffering 90-degree days. Forget cookies and milk. The best Santa can expect now is a bad sunburn.
I get it. This year is shaping up to be nearly as bad as last.
Teased, we all thought life might return to some semblance of normal only to have the pandemic roar back, in large part due to the idiocy of anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers.
This has been a year marked by horrific natural disasters, from wildfires and droughts, to killer floods, to hurricanes and tornadoes, and heat and cold snaps of historic proportions. Most Americans understand that human-caused climate change is making matters worse. The climate-change deniers will go to their graves blaming Hillary Clinton.
Speaking of politics…our divides are as deep as ever. Donald Trump will not go away, and should his legal problems force him off stage there are several Trump wannabes standing in the wings to fight voting rights, immigration, LGBTQ rights, and even states’ rights if they stand in the way of abortion bans.
Internationally, the Afghanistan debacle damages what little influence we had left in the Middle and Near East. China is on the ascendancy and Russia still has Putin.
I get it.
We all need a break and for most Americans that break is the holiday season. There may be considerable artifice to the notion, but mostly we view the season as a time of peace, joy, and universal love.
With 2021 headed to the trash bin that was 2020, why not bring on the season a few months ahead of schedule?
But let’s hit pause for just a moment.
There are so many more holidays we could enjoy in the next three months that might provide similar relief without pushing too hard for an early Christmas.
We just finished celebrating Labor Day, one last chance for that summer vacation.
But there is so much more to come.
Just today we have National Beer Lovers Day – and who cannot get behind that? But if you do not drink, consider National Neither Snow Nor Rain Day (maybe a good time to gift your mail carrier), or better, National Salami Day. Tomorrow is National Ampersand Day, as close to a universal holiday as we can get in the digital age.
National Teddy bear Day is Sept. 10. Sept. 12 is set aside for National Video Games Day. My personal favorite – Sept. 14 is National Cream-Filled Donut Day.
National Wife Appreciation Day is Sept. 19, which should be a national day off, according to Carla. Personally, I like National Respect for the Aged Day on the 20th.
I could ask about the origin of these many holidays but will save that for Sept. 28, National Ask a Stupid Question Day.
And that is just a partial list of September holidays.
You get my point. There are many opportunities to celebrate our common interests, heritage and dare I say it, mutual affection, well before December. Here you can find a detailed list of holidays and celebrations listed by the month.
In what some still argue is a war on Christmas, I am no longer a combatant, having surrendered to the holiday last year. So, I am not arguing against the holiday season, simply arguing against a too-early start.
Let’s celebrate other worldly miracles until after Thanksgiving, at least. National Homemade Cookie Day and National Coffee Day both arrive on Oct. 1. That is a confluence of interests worth celebrating.
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Steven A. Smith is clinical associate professor emeritus in the School of Journalism and Mass Media at the University of Idaho having retired from full-time teaching at the end of May 2020. He writes a weekly opinion column. Smith is former editor of The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington. As editor, Smith supervised all news and editorial operations on all platforms until his resignation in October 2008. Prior to joining The Spokesman-Review, Smith was editor for two years at the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon, and was for five years editor and vice president of The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Newspaper Management Center Advanced Executive Program and a mid-career development program at Duke University. He holds an M.A. in communication from The Ohio State University where he was a Kiplinger Fellow, and a B.S. in journalism from the University of Oregon.