I always look forward to the weekend after Thanksgiving because it marks the traditional kickoff of the holiday season. Once the leftover turkey has been refrigerated, the shopping can begin, the tree can go up and the holiday specials can take over the TV. At least, that’s how it used to be. Apparently I missed the memo informing us that the Christmas season now begins almost two full months before the holiday itself.

I always look forward to the weekend after Thanksgiving because it marks the traditional kickoff of the holiday season. Once the leftover turkey has been refrigerated, the shopping can begin, the tree can go up and the holiday specials can take over the TV.

At least, that’s how it used to be.

Apparently I missed the memo informing us that the Christmas season now begins almost two full months before the holiday itself.

On the weekend after Halloween, I went to the mall — for some non-Christmas shopping, mind you — and was shocked to find that Santa had already parked his fat butt on his Christmas throne. Even worse, people were lining up for pictures with him! On Nov. 7!

That same day, I went to my local Kroger for some everyday, non-holiday groceries and stumbled into a “Holiday Open House” with all sorts of Christmas goodies for shoppers to try out. Now, I’m all about free samples, but is it really appropriate to host a “Holiday Open House” when children are still working through their Halloween candy and the Great Pumpkin is still warm in his grave?

And those weren’t the only indicators that Christmas had come very, very early this year.

Disney released its creepy-looking version of “A Christmas Carol” on Nov. 6. As soon as Halloween was over, stores and radio stations began playing holiday music, and Christmas decorations started popping up everywhere. Holiday-themed commercials and Christmas specials weaseled their way into the November lineup.

I’ve noticed that the holiday season seems to get longer and longer every year, but this is just ridiculous.

I’ve heard it said that retailers are trying to stimulate their sales by getting a jump-start on the holiday season, but I’m not sure how effective that will be.

I, for one, don’t even want to think about Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving. When I see Christmas displays at the store or commercials for holiday sales on TV, it doesn’t make me want to begin my gift-buying — it stresses me out and prompts me to push my shopping list even further back into my brain.

I would imagine that the majority of people are cutting back on their holiday budgets this year, so starting the shopping season early probably won’t do much to get people to spend more money.

Many shoppers are likely ignoring the early Christmas blitz in favor of waiting for post-Thanksgiving sales.

I could be wrong. Maybe Santa will succeed where everyone else has failed and rejuvenate the economy.

I certainly hope so, because that’s about the only scenario I could imagine that would justify stretching the Christmas season out like a piece of eggnog-flavored saltwater taffy.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some Grinch who can’t stand the Christmas season — far from it.
I love Christmas. I love Christmas decorations; I love Christmas cookies; I love Christmas music — both listening to it and singing it.

But I also love the fact that Christmas only comes once a year. That makes it something special, something to be anticipated, something to cherish.

Now, Christmas still only comes once a year, but it sticks around for about two months — and the holiday spirit get diluted.

Christmas morning might seem less special if your tree has already been up for eight weeks.

Christmas cookies go stale if you keep them too long. Christmas music gets annoying if you listen to it ad nauseam.

So, I will kick off my holiday season this weekend and I will celebrate Christmas with the same amount of cheer that I display every year.

But not until I’m good and ready.

Pekin Daily Times city editor Amanda Jacobs can be reached at (309) 346-1111 or ajacobs@pekintimes.com.