Well, according to the stores. Forget the smell of roasting chestnuts and sound of bells ... the first signs of Christmas are related to the stores. Last night, while watching a Halloween episode of some show, I caught my first glimpse of ... a Christmas commercial. This one for Walmart. And today, in the grocery stores fliers, ingredients for making Christmas goodies are on sale.
Philosophically, I'm against this type of "hurry to the next holiday" syndrome. Can't we just take things slowly? But pragmatically, I understand it. I know that I like to get my shopping done early, which means others probably do, and if you own a store, you want to get my business.
And ... I hate to admit it ...
But I got a little tingle looking at the ads for cinnamon and baking powder.
Now, this year, I have a little extra reason for that. We had a fantastic Christmas last year. Tons of family in, everyone having a good time. The kind of Christmas everyone looks back on and says, "Remember Christmas 2005? That was a real special one."
Well, we had no idea how special. When my mother and I commented on how petite Little Warrior was, compared to her siblings at that age, we had no hint that it was because two tumors were there inside her, sucking up all of the nutrients we put in her body. When my parents left after the holidays, we had no idea that they'd be back within three weeks, to stay for months.
Okay, I'm back.
During the worst of it, I looked back at the holidays and got some measure of comfort saying, "Well, at least we had a great Christmas."
This year, I'm aware of it all. I'm aware that we can't know what challenges lie ahead, or what sorrow. So I can't give in with total abandon and innocence to the holiday. But maybe that just means that I'll appreciate it more. Every commercial, glitter-coated moment.