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Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

For those of you who are shocked to see ads with a holiday theme before you hear your first strains of "Trick or Treat!" here is an excerpt from my book, Holly Jolly Frivolity:

Its Beginning To Look A Lot Like

I surrender. I just can’t fight it anymore.

It’s only the beginning of September. Most stores are still holding back to school sales. (Mind you, they started those back in June just as the kids were getting out for the summer.) Halloween is still nearly two months away but without a doubt, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Actually it isn’t beginning. It’s begun. I was in a store on August sixth that had two aisles roped off to allow for the restocking of the shelves with Christmas decorations, gift wrap, and cards.

Like I said, I surrender.

I suppose it’s what retailers want to happen. They run the risk of overselling the Christmas shopping season and numbing people to the fact that there are less than one hundred and twenty shopping days until December twenty-fifth. It pays off for them if they can make us surrender. We might actually start spending money on Christmas wrap now.

It’s all part of a devious plan to sell more. Most retailers know that the majority of their customers are like me. If I buy Christmas cards or wrapping paper this week, they know that I will forget where I put them by the time I need them. Therefore, I will go out again sometime around Christmas Eve and buy more.

Our little town has been used for the filming of several made for television Christmas movies. In general, these shows are shot in June and July. In order to accommodate the film crews, the town puts up its Christmas decorations during the filming. The warm feeling you might get from seeing Christmas decorations go up is somehow lost when the temperature is causing perspiration to trickle down your spine.

Twice this summer my wife’s office has been the scene of a Christmas film shoot. Cameras, lights and other equipment made getting to and from her door difficult. The actual filming was taking place in a restaurant next door. Even so, Diane got to play a major role in the success of the film. Late in the day the property manager rushed into her office and begged to borrow a telephone. He didn’t want to make a call. He wanted to borrow a telephone.

Diane may not be in the movies, but her telephone will be.

I was involved with the production of one of these films several years ago. On a hot July day we needed a snow filled laneway in the downtown core of Vancouver. Dump trucks hauled tons of snow down from the mountains, and it was topped off with a layer of instant mashed potatoes. (I always wondered if there was a good use for instant mashed potatoes and knew that it didn’t involve serving them with roast beef.)

At the same time, the city was hosting a large environmental convention. Ecologists, biologists, botanists and several other 'ists' were meeting at the convention center a couple of blocks from our location. One of the delegates happened to walk down the street just as we were getting ready for the scene. Large fans were blowing the instant mashed potatoes around the laneway in a make-believe blizzard. The man looked into the lane and his chin dropped.

As he passed me I said, “Really messes up your global warming theory, doesn’t it…”

He walked away muttering something to himself about crazy Canadians needing to see snowstorms in the middle of summer.

But at least our instant mashed potato snowdrifts were biodegradable.

It’s usually the middle of October before we start to see ads for toys during prime time. Newspaper deliverers can rest until sometime in November before the advertising inserts start to outweigh the actual newspapers. Still, now that the kids are back in school, we have to know we are on that fast downward slope toward December 25th and all it brings with it.

But between now and then, have yourself a merry little Grandparents Day, Rosh Hosanna, Yom Kippur, Canadian Thanksgiving, Columbus Day, Mother-in-Laws Day, Halloween, Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in Canada), American Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice.

After all that, we might be ready for Christmas.

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Gordon Kirkland At Large

Writings and Wramblings from the Wandering and Wondering Mind of Gordon Kirkland