Are You Ready? It’s Just About Time For HallowThanksMas!


HallowThanksMas is coming — that magical time of year that has become a blur of festivities culminating in a pile of invoices that arrive right after the first of the year. (“Happy New Year! That was fun. Now pay up.”)

But we start slowly, with Halloween. What began as trick-or-treating in the neighborhood and maybe a costume party for the adults has evolved into quite a bit of theatrics. There are scary-movie festivals that go on all night. There are numerous plays and shows like Little Shop of Horrors and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Theme parks around the globe host horror nights, and just about every community hosts a haunted house or two. The entire country seems swathed in orange and black. And kids still trick-or-treat, but they also “trunk-or-treat” from vehicle to vehicle in what is more-or-less a controlled environment, confusing little ones who (the rest of the year) are repeatedly told, “Don’t go up to a stranger’s car just because he offers you candy!”

By mid-November, having done our best to dispose of all this sugar in the best way we know how (eating it), we swear off candy for life and turn a baleful eye toward the next edible holiday — Thanksgiving, celebrated this year on November 24. In good conscience, we will try to make up for All Hallow’s Eve (and the weeks of gluttony that followed) by ingesting a good amount of vegetables with our turkey, but then there are those heavenly toasted rolls… those buttery mashed potatoes… those mouth-watering pies! With each family cook all amped up by cooking shows and glossy magazine photos, with each trying to out-do the next, with traditional family recipes lavishly interspersed with all that’s new, how are we supposed to resist? It’s culinary heaven topped off with a fight for the “good” chair as we settle down in our team hats to doze off and on in front of seemingly unending football games.

Christmas comes next and, for those who do not celebrate it, congratulations. As much as I love retail and commercialization and the creativity that must go into thinking that a Santa “Claws”-emblazoned litter box would be a hot seller, I have to admit that we Christians have gone a bit past the original intent of the holiday. I mean, all Joseph and Mary wanted for Christmas Eve was a hotel room. And they didn’t get it.

There is very little that our loved ones want that they don’t get these days — candy, food, presents — and I could go on about how you can’t buy love, or happiness, or health. But I kind of like that, for the entire season of HalloThanksMas, we try. We shower our kids with candy because it’s our way of showering them with love. We bake until we ache because it’s a way to honor the cooks of our past while encouraging the cooks of our future. We try to find perfect gifts for all those people who play such an important part in our lives every day. And if a Santa-themed litter box says, “I cherish you,” so be it.