With Halloween Gone, Christmas Has Arrived!


I know, I know. It’s only one week after Halloween, but I’m already full of Christmas spirit. Part of the reason for this is that retailers everywhere have decided that the Friday after Halloween will now be Black Friday rather than the Friday after Thanksgiving.

You only have to watch the ads on television to know this. Initially, there was outrage because it is rather ridiculous. But those of us with brick-and-mortar stores have to pull out all the stops in order to compete with our online competitors. So, there are sales going on everywhere!

The other part of the reason is simple: I like Christmas!

I’ve done some holiday shopping, but also, my stores are decorated, the music is playing and, by Dec. 1, I will be over it. Yet no matter how red-and-greened-out I am, I will be forced to carry on until Dec. 25 when there will finally be peace on earth.

That is, until Dec. 26 when the next round of sales — and hysteria — starts up.

In the meantime, we have Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a nice holiday because there isn’t much hype. The day centers around good food, lovingly prepared, and a batch of people around the table that maybe you haven’t seen for a while.

There’s an element of danger, of course, because alcohol is often involved. When you put alcohol together with people who have been apart for some time, anything can happen. I remember waking up the day after Thanksgiving one year (I was about 11) and trundling downstairs to find Uncle Jack (God rest his cheerful soul) sleeping face down in the middle of the living room floor. He and Aunt Celia had been with us for Thanksgiving, but we kids had gone to bed about 9 p.m. and were, therefore, out of the loop.

“Why is Uncle Jack here?” I asked.

My mother answered without skipping a beat, “He slept over.”


Mom had probably been wondering how she was going to explain this without lying and without getting into the specifics of “how much booze is too much booze,” and the easy answer or “he slept over” came to her as the perfect solution.

“Where’s Aunt Celia?”

“She went home.”

And that was that. No “Why?” No “Did they have a fight?” No drama at all. Kids are like that. Kids accept anything their parents say, which is why we have to be so careful when we talk to them. Plus, there’s a lot they don’t understand. Sometimes, like in the case of Uncle Jack, that’s a good thing. Sometimes, not.

Case in point: The other night, my daughter Jen finished putting the food onto the dinner table and took her place next to six-year-old Skippy. Skippy looked at his meat and asked, “What are we having?”

“Ham,” she replied.

Skippy looked concerned, then hesitantly asked, “From a real hamster?”

It makes sense, if you think about it, but Jen gave him the easy answer: “No.”

And that was that.