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You Better Not Pout!

I''m not a big fan of this time of year. Hanukah, Christmas, New Year's. There are some logical reasons for this. When I was freelancing for magazines, I hated this season because I swore no one was reading my queries, they were being tossed in the circular file, and every editor was enjoying vacation days. So nothing got done as far as I was concerned. Also, if I had to interview people for an article, chasing them down and scheduling them for a phone interview was an iffy business. They were either crowded from work deadlines or like editors, busy shopping and making merry.

Now that I'm not freelancing for magazines, I still get the blahs just thinking of the holidays. The first sign of my malaise usually comes when someone in the neighborhood puts up his Christmas lights. This year someone dared to  put them up BEFORE Thanksgiving. That really pissed me off--that someone had broken the implied contract that all decorations would be delayed until at least Black Friday. Actually even before that all-American turkey fest, drug stores were jamming Santas, tinsels and Christmas ornaments in between the feminine hygiene products and razor blades. Now stores are either selling Christmasy products or displaying them to hype consumers. Maybe it hypes some consumers, but not me. I guess I'm scrooged for good.

Actually it's probably because I'm not the typical consumer that ad agencies like to target. First off, I don't have kids--that's a negative factor since that probably means I can make it through the season without stocking up on candies, batteries, and a variety of baking products for making cookies, rum balls and fruit cakes and other yummy recommendations in the holiday sections of every woman's magazine on the face of the planet. Another reason why advertisers probably hate me is my tendency to burn out on everything. Like real fast. I like to put it to people that "a lot goes a long way for me," but it's really because I bore easily. And after umpteen years of hearing Christmas carols and watching TV seasonal specials, I'm sick to death of even the most indirect markers of Christmas. Like, for instance, pairing red with green. Those colors remind me of every Christmas sweater I've seen since I tinseled my first tree.

I'm slowly turning into a holiday grouch. I say no to any and all parties my hubby and/or I may get invites to. I dislike them all equally. Besides I'm not good with crowds and I consider anything over 10 people a crowd. As a result I've turned down quite a few soirees in my day. Just last evening after eating a quickie dinner, I noticed that the park across from the street from the strip mall was teeming with police helping to organize parkers for the lights spectacular at McCormick Ranch Park. It's pretty but so is a peacock before you pull all the feathers out.

However the biggest no-no for me is the alcoholic one. Between Dec. 1 and January 1, sober consumers like me have to be on guard for all the drinkers out there on the road. That means avoiding all night driving and choosing off hours to do errands like fueling the car, getting your mandatory peppermint latte, and shopping for Fido.

The hardest part about the holiday season is masking my dislike of all things related to presents and paper trimmings. I have to remember to put on my fake smile as I wish the butcher, baker and candlestick maker seasons greetings and a happy new year. Even my friends seem to like all the hoopla of the season more than I do. One pair are going to NYC to make jolly with their kids and others will be haunting airports, toting large gaily decorated boxes destined for relatives they hate and will not see even if hell freezes over for another decade or so.

I'm not pouting. It may look like it, but looks are deceiving. I'm really just disgusted with the crass commercialism of the season and all the hypocrisy accompanying. After all, what can you expect of an atheist who had to be dragged 45 minutes by car to NYC to see the magnificently decorated windows of department stores like Lord and Taylor and Bloomingdales? I don't recall unclenching my teeth until I watched the humongous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree around which ice skaters glided and giggled.

Some people just don't like state-mandated holidays, and I guess I'm one of them. It doesn't help that my melancholia insists on getting a little worse this time of year. I think I review my losses and blind side my gains.
I don't think I'm going to get better as I age, but as long as there's chocolate Santas and dreidels, I think I'll make it. How about you?


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