I saw a buddy last week and wished him a happy holiday. He was taken aback. “Please, Mark, save the political correctness for someone else,” he said. The fact is I wasn’t being politically correct; I was merely expressing the sentiment that the individual holidays seem to have evolved into one continuous celebration.
Each year, it’s the same thing. The grill has barely cooled off from the Labor Day burgers and people are out decorating their houses with witches and skeletons, and fliers start coming in the mail pushing the sale of Halloween candy. And then, before you can say “bite-size Snickers,” stores commence to awarding you points to get a Thanksgiving turkey and reminding you not to forget the cranberry sauce. As you are running around trying to remember what you need for stuffing, Christmas carols can be heard playing in local businesses and ads on TV and the radio air telling you how many days left until Santa comes.
Our society has turned the holidays into one big blur that lasts from the first week of September to the last week of December. We can either fight this trend or embrace it. I suggest we do the latter. I propose, since they all get squished together anyway, we officially combine Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and celebrate Hallogivemas.
Let me share with you some of the advantages of this plan. First of all, celebrating one four-month long holiday would resolve the issue of Vermonters leaving their decorations out well past the appropriate season. We could decorate once, and leave everything up until the new year. I envision themes for adorning our residences to include scenes depicting Frankenstein with a huge bag of gifts in a sleigh being pulled by a flock of turkeys, or a hockey mask-wearing Santa with a chainsaw chasing some guys wearing oversized hats with buckles on them.
Another advantage to Hallogivemas involves music. We are overdue for new holiday songs. With Hallogivemas, songwriters could get to work creating a slew of new takes on old classics. Songs might include: “O Little Town of Transylvania,” “Hark! The Gobble Turkeys Sing,” “O Hallogivemas Tree,” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Zombie,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing a Pilgrim,” “We Witch you a Merry Hallogivemas” — The possibilities are endless.
Combining the three holidays into one would offer the benefit of no more lines at the mall to see Santa. With Hallogivemas, children could go to the mall any time from Sept. 1 to Dec. 24 and put their orders in for loot. Kids would register at different stores similar to the way couples do when they are going to get married. Then parents, friends and families can make purchases for the four months building up to Hallogivemas Day.
Honoring Americans’ love of both ritual and excess, Hallogivemas would still involve going door-to-door asking for treats. On Hallogivemas Eve, kids would dress in costume and canvas the neighborhood. But instead of candy, residents would give the little imps household items that they no longer need. Then, on Hallogivemas Day, people would exchange and collect more gifts prior to having a belt-loosening feast.
Let’s review the advantages to this proposed holiday. Hallogivemas would cut down on decorating costs, time and labor, give us some new music, pump tons of cash into the economy, and offer an opportunity to purge crap from our households. It’s a winner of an idea.
While I see no downside whatsoever to Hallogivemas, I’m sure some negative Nelly is going to write in to tell me all about how this idea would commercialize everything and take away the meaning of the holidays. I would argue that train left the station some time ago. We have gotten to the point where we’ve dedicated days to spending money on things we normally wouldn’t buy, just for the sake of the holidays. There’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Wasteful Wednesday and Throw Away Thursday. Okay, I made up those last two. But you get the idea. Every year we are coming up with new and more creative ways to exploit and commercialize the season. As I suggested earlier, rather than resist the movement, why not go with the flow? Accept that this is the way it’s going to be, and enjoy the holiday.
And please, make sure the kiddies stop by my house Hallogivemas Eve. I have a few old appliances I’d like to give them.
Mark S. Albury lives in Northfield Falls.