"But I thought Santa Claus wasn't allowed out until after Thanksgiving..."
"That's so twentieth century of you!" said Lynn.
I could probably get crankier about it all if the pictures weren't so damned cute. Still, it's troubling that the point of Thanksgiving seems to have become the big shopping extravaganza that takes place the next day. But that's not even the beginning of the shopping season anymore. Lynn said she woke up the morning after Hallowe'en thinking, "Oh gawd, now it's Christmas..."
It's tedious to fuss about the relentless commercialism of it all. On the other side there's the Catholic League calling for a boycott against Wal-Mart because they're "banning Christmas." Wal-Mart caved immediately, of course. The League's defence of Catholicism makes soulless commercialism look downright appealling.
Do I have to choose between a Christian nation and a market driven engine of democracy? The ideologues on both sides make me want to pull the blinds and go into mourning. Of course, the reality isn't really that stark. Most people aren't ideologues, and somehow manage to balance their cravings for stuff with genuine warmth and generosity.
Getting through the holidaze is a bit of a minefield for everybody, I guess. It is so heavily emotionally laden. All the tensions that exist within families rise to the surface. We all suffer a bit from the nostalgic longing for the way we imagine that things used to be. Our fears about our own inadequacies are heightened by the rising tide of expectations, both real and imagined.
And still somehow we manage to find the joy and the comfort in mystery that still seem to be at the root of all of the holiday traditions that blend together at this time of year. Despite all the trappings, it is about renewal and hope. Maybe as one gets older, it is more difficult to find, but it's there.