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'Twas 15 Weeks Before Christmas ...
By JAMES GROB
Ottumwa Post Columnist
I am not a Scrooge, nor am I a Grinch.
I absolutely love Christmas. I love the holy religious part of it, and I love the secular celebration part of it. I even love the crass commercialism.
Call me sentimental. Certain Christmas songs -- both traditional and contemporary -- can make my eyes well up with tears and put a lump in my throat. I love it when the radio stations start playing Christmas music -- everything from Adeste Fideles to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
I love the baby Jesus in the manger, I love the three ghosts summoned by old, dead Jacob Marley. I love Jimmy Stewart taking every shot Old Man Potter dishes out before scrambling through Bedford Falls rapt with stupendous joy, I love Clark W. Griswold finding room in his home for Cousin Eddie's family. I love watching Bill Murray get hit in the face with a toaster, I love Will Ferell prancing around as that jolly yet overgrown elf.
Rudolph. Frosty. Burgermeister Meisterburger. The Winter Warlock. The Heat Miser. Charlie Brown's pathetic little Christmas tree. They're all my favorites.
Do I make myself clear? It's the most wonderful time of the year for me.
But yesterday ...
Yesterday it was a record-high 100 degrees outside. I walked into my home drenched with sweat, grabbed a cool beverage, and turned on the TV.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear?
You guessed it! A Christmas commercial! The first Christmas commercial of 2013 -- ON THE NINTH DAY OF SEPTEMBER!
To prevent any legal situations, I won't reveal the name of the company which had the nerve to start airing Christmas commercials in the summer heat. I'll just say that the name begins with the letter "K." And it ends with the letter "Mart." You'll just have to figure the rest out for yourself.
Clearly, shamelessness runs amok in the world of retail. For the sake of Baby Jesus, it's still officially summer for almost three more weeks!
Now, the commercial wasn't exactly an "in your face" Christmas ad with wreaths and bows and bells, but it did clearly say something along the lines of "it's never too early to start your Christmas shopping."
To which, I must disagree. I do think that sometimes it is too early to start your Christmas shopping. In fact, I think that now is actually one of those times when it's way too early to start your Christmas shopping.
They haven't even played the Iowa vs. Iowa State football game yet!
We've still got Halloween, Thanksgiving, and about a dozen other holidays that I can't remember the names of right now because I'm deliberately ignorant of other cultures and religions, before we have Christmas.
Now granted, if you are one of those talented people who makes all their Christmas gifts, it's likely you started making them months ago. If I were the kind of person who was going to crochet a snowflake afghan for my Aunt Betty, I would have started on it in July. But since I don't know how to crochet, I don't care for snowflake afghans, and I don't have an Aunt Betty, that's all a moot point.
And yes, if people would buy Christmas gifts throughout the year, rather than all within a couple weeks in December, Christmas bills would not be nearly as harsh on their wallets.
But who wants to do that? Buying all the gifts at once is half the fun of the season.
So please, all you gung-ho capitalist marketing gurus out there -- have a little mercy.
Don't try to sell me Christmas goodies when it's 100 degrees outside.
Don't make me have to start to hate Christmas.