Christmas Displays in October?!

Everyone should back off — with one teensy exception.

I love Christmas. I love the sensuousness of it: the sights, smells, tastes, textures, sounds.

But when this year’s holiday marketing blitz began back in October, I was appalled. Seriously — the so-called “holiday season” has been creeping up before Thanksgiving, but before Halloween? Almost two months before Christmas Day? That’s ridiculous.

When friends divulge their plans to avoid the crowded malls by completing their shopping before Thanksgiving, I tease them for sounding like my grandmother. I live practically next door to the biggest mall in the area, which means the highway in front of our apartment will soon become a trafficky nightmare. Still, Christmas shopping pre-Thanksgiving seems wrong to me. I love buying gifts for friends and family, but I am terrible at keeping them a secret. I get really excited and start giving less-than-subtle clues. Thus, the optimal time for me to buy gifts is no more than two or three weeks before giving them; otherwise I’d probably explode.

Besides, I like keeping the holiday season condensed to a month. I will not begin doing my Christmas cards until December. I will not pull out our festive red and green candles until December. I will not do baking trial runs of the Christmas cookies for our annual party until December. I will not, despite our families’ requests, give them our Christmas lists until at least Thanksgiving. I will roll my eyes in exasperation at all of the Christmas decorations already in stores. And I am more than a little irritated by the constant inundation of e-mails and mailings with glitzy sales offers. Shut up, media. Christmas is still six weeks away.

However. There is one tiny exception to my rule, which became evident on Friday. I sensed it coming when I spotted a red cup cradled in the hands of a student on campus and felt a thrill of excitement course through me. Then I walked into Starbucks, and I suddenly morphed into a three year old in a candy shop, all round-saucer eyes. It’s already Christmas at Starbucks! Hello, yummy peppermint mochas and gingerbread lattes! Hello, cheery red-clad staff and festive red cups!

When my barista asked if I wanted whipped cream and sprinkles on my peppermint mocha, I nodded so enthusiastically that I probably looked like a bobble-head dashboard ornament. She laughed at me a little. And I didn’t mind.

Best of all, hello cranberry bliss bars! Cranberry bliss bars are my most favorite dessert in all the land: a delicious combination of cakey cranberry and white-chocolate-laden cake and cream-cheese icing, sprinkled with extra cranberries and drizzled with more white chocolate. They are, indeed, full of bliss. And for them, I will make an exception. I approve. Starbucks may start Christmas early.

Article © 2006 by Jessica Emanuel