Thanksgiving is coming up Thursday, a day to be with family and friends and, for some people, a day to plan the next day's all-out shopping extravaganza.
On Friday, the news media, especially television reporters, will breathlessly report on people who lined up before dawn to be the first to grab that gotta-have gift for the kids. After all, how long does it take to cover the semi-annual feast given for the less fortunate?
Hey, I'm not picking on anyone. Just last year, at the urging of friend wife, I found myself standing in line around midnight to get into the late and much-lamented CompUSA for first crack at the bargains. It was fun to do. Once.
So now starts the time of the year when it is impossible for someone to enter a store, walk in a mall, turn on many radio stations and the rest without hearing Christmas music.
You'll notice I didn't say holiday music. I nearly puked last year every time I heard Rachel Ray talk about the holidays this and the holidays that when doing Dunkin Donuts ads.
It's not the holidays. It's Christmas. It's a Christian holiday in a Christian country and I don't understand why people have to try to make it inclusive.
Cards and wrapping paper with reindeer and trees and snowmen are Christmas decorations. The Muslims, Hindus, Shintoists, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists don't have a winter holiday. Jews do, but there are no reindeer, trees and candy canes associated with Hanukkah.
It doesn't snow much where the first Hanukkah took place, so snowmen have nothing to do with the holiday. Hanukkah gifts, with the exception of small amounts of money called Hanukkah gelt, are just a reaction to Christmas gift-giving.
Christmas hasn't been too good to me, so I'm a little bitter. For example, I got my head handed to me at my last job because of Christmas.
There was a fire in an apartment building, I think it was in Mount Vernon. Nobody was hurt and few people were made homeless.
There was a lot of other news that Sunday, about two weeks before Christmas, so I put a picture of the fire on Page One and referred to a number of pictures and a big story on the Local News page. Wrong move.
The next day, I was taken to the woodshed but good. How could I not lead the paper with the fire.? Why? Christmas gifts were destroyed. It was the end of the world. Some kids would have to go without all their gifts. Their parents were unhurt, they had a roof over their heads, food to eat and the rest. But their gifts were destroyed and their parents might not have enough money to replace them all. Horrors.
I didn't get what the big deal was then and I don't get it now. I deal with it.
For those who celebrate Christmas, my question is: Why don't you claim it as your own. Call it Christmas, not the holidays. Clasp it to your breast. Enjoy it. Store clerks should wish people a merry Christmas, not happy holidays. Talk about Christmas the tree, not holiday tree, in Rockefeller Center.
Seriously, if I have to deal with the barrage of music, decorations, television programs, "A Wonderful Life" and the rest, at least you who celebrate the holiday could do is to embrace it and enjoy it.
Until next time...