Are there slap-in-the-face, telltale signs that we are in the middle of the maelstrom known as the holiday season? Oh, yes (exaggerated roll of the eyes, please).

Christmas decorations appear in stores around the same time as back-to-school sales. Someone ought to invent a small mechanism to be attached to holiday decorations.  It goes off like a sparkler if they are displayed prior to Halloween. Just think we could have fireworks in the fall.

The ubiquitous advertisements for outlandish gifts begin to bombard our delicate ears and eyes prior to Thanksgiving. Far too many commercials push new cars, sparkling jewelry, amazing vacations, and other tantalizing gifts.

Usually, the footprints of the Politically Correct Police are evident in most television advertising. But they have committed a PC faux pas when it comes to gift suggestions.

Think about it. Advertisers attempt to be demographically diverse when choosing actors for commercials. One particular television commercial for a pickup truck comes to mind. The people used in the commercial attempt to represent both the gender and racial spectrum. Since one of the women is also overweight, does she cover the politically correct requirement for gender and shape?

With PC in mind, why do the advertisers ignore the financially diverse needs of the viewers? Only a small percentage of the population can afford any of the gifts advertised such as a new Lexus in the driveway with a big red bow on top. Thinking back to the early days of our married life, we could not plunk down sizable cash for enticing but expensive gifts. We even had sense enough not to put ourselves in debt for eternity just to make a big gift giving splash. Expensive does not equal love.

Perhaps the PC folks could suggest reasonably priced gifts be pushed with the same vigor as are the expensive items. To do so would be an act of kindness. But if prior actions can be used as an example, adhering to PC rules supersedes common sense and kindness.

In October or early November, our mailboxes — both actual and virtual — are inundated with gift catalogs. Until you are forced to lug pounds of catalogs to the recycle bin, you may not be aware of the existence of most of them. If you ever ordered a part to repair an appliance, candy, an item of clothing, or paid taxes, then your address will miraculously appear in every catalog database.

After Thanksgiving, those our-family-is-so-amazing-and-yours-is-not letters clog mailboxes. Now if the holidays are the only time you communicate with friends you rarely see, then a quick catch-up letter is welcome. The letters enumerating all the wonderful things that have happened to the writer without mention of a bit of reality are annoying. Such letters are filed at lightning speed in the round file. Should the shocking event occur and the holiday letter writer exposes his or her human side by asking about the recipient’s family then, the letter might be answered, and appreciated.

There is another harbinger of the holiday season, traffic-stopping accidents. Something folks rarely associate with the holidays. However, if you are part of the great daily commute, you will notice the uptick in such accidents.

Do holiday shoppers in small towns awaken from their “walking dead” existence to clog the stuttering flow of traffic?  If it is possible, the presumed holiday-only drivers appear to be even ruder and careless than the denizens of daily traffic.

We live out in the country. You would think the traffic would be lighter than the traffic in town. Think again.

Almost every morning there is an accident or two that backs up traffic for varying lengths of precious time. One spectacular wreck brought everyone to a standstill and backed up traffic through three towns. It is during those stomach-clenching and less than festive moments when two words may pass your normally cheerful lips.

Bah Humbug!




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