This is the first year our daughter seems to get the whole cultural Christmas thing. Her inner consumer has been awakened somehow. Maybe it was sparked by the Christmas songs she’s been singing in school. Maybe it was all the ads she’s seen on the El platforms and inside the trains.
This year, she has learned to add the addendum to her requests for toys that have been denied, saying “Can we put it on my Christmas list?” For the past few days, she has been spending hours writing out her list in scribbles and jumbled letters with washable markers.
All of November, she kept asking when it was going to be Christmas, and Emily and I kept telling her it is was after Thanksgiving. So come Thursday, I don’t think I remember her ever saying “Happy Thanksgiving” but rather “It’s almost Christmas!” Friday morning, she came running into our bedroom to wake us up at some unbelievably early hour saying “Merry Christmas!” Saturday, the same thing. My dear child. I guess she was only repeating what we told her.
It is amazing to me how quickly the culture pushes us to jump from fall to Christmas. As soon as the first leaf turns, the red and green ink begins to flow like mountain-fed rivers in spring … the muzak and satellite radio have 15 channels of holiday selections, all of which seem to feature Mel Torme or some other sleepy sounding guy who slides all over the notes; then a glockenspiel or some bright and cheery instrument will replace the voices the third time through the selections. We are fast-forwarded to the yule, and holly jolly, and the ho ho ho.
Last year, I watched the city of Geneva hang the Christmas trees from the lamp posts the first week of November and was stunned. “Can’t we wait?” I said to the shop owner whose window I was looking out at the time. “We haven’t got the time,” he replied. “We’re too busy living the American dream.” (more…)