I stand with so many other people around this time of year who are annoyed with the stores, malls, and restaurants that begin their Christmas decorating (and sales) way too early. In fact, this year I saw so much red and green before Halloween I had to look at a calendar to check the date more than once. I don’t enjoy the barrage of Christmas music, in elevators, on the radio, in stores, everywhere.
It’s partly because I’m Jewish, I suppose. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a good Christmas tune–Mariah Carey’s recent take on “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is my modern favorite–it’s just that Christmas takes over the last two months of the year, and on some houses in my neighborhood, the first three months of the following year (Take your lights DOWN, people!).
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t begrudge anyone their religious celebration, even if most retail displays have more to do with the non-religious part of Christmas, and in fact I DO understand that the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas. I’m fine with that. (<----That's a stupid statement, but I'm leaving it in.) I don't expect equal efforts from retail establishments and radio stations when it comes to Hanukkah (which is a very minor holiday on the Jewish calendar and involves presents mainly because of Jewish parents feeling the pressure to keep up with Christian parents in December), Kwanzaa, or any other holiday celebrated by the minority. I don't expect any kind of special treatment, really. It just gets frustrating, that's all. Because we brought the kids up in the Jewish faith with a pretty strong foundation and my family has our own traditions surrounding the elements of our religion, I don't really have anything to truly complain about because at home, it's all good. I just tend to get a little curmudgeonly around this time of year. That is, until I do something like walk by Macy's (formerly known to the public and forever known in my heart as Marshall Field's) on State Street on a fine November evening, and see this.
Then, because of that, I enter the store and head up to the Walnut Room to see the Great Tree, now in its 104th year. My grandmother used to take us to the Walnut Room for lunch when I was a kid and that tree, just like its ancestors, tugs at my heart each and every time I lay eyes on it.
When those events come into play, even a curmudgeon like me can break a little smile and think that Christmas overload isn’t so bad after all. (But just for a minute.)
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