You read it right, there are 12 weeks of jingle, plinky, sparkly, ring-a-ding holidays. Don’t believe me? Okay, I get it, but we need to stop denying Christmas creep. It starts early in fall and builds its nefarious and stealthy steam for 12 whole weeks.
Week 1 through 3: Sneaks up on us every darned time. These start in October, when Christmas people are digging out strings of lights waiting for the Halloween people to be done with it. This is also the period when large retailers start the subterfuge of small sections of shimmery crap that harks of herald angels. They think they are being subtle.
Weeks 4 through 6: While veterans are being remembered and the weather is starting to turn, Christmas creep is happening full on. The stores unapologetically roll out row after row of chocolates in shiny packages, fully decorated fake trees and spinning snowmen dancers on little wind up stands. Neighbors hang endless sparkling strings of those hideous icicle lights and compete to see who can have the most inflatable happy Santas on their front lawns.
Weeks 7 and 8: Are deadly. You think you still have time, but you don’t. Every store is playing an endless loop of “Come All Ye Faithful” by Gloria Gaynor (I don’t care if she didn’t do that song, you get the point). Parking spots at the mall are getting scarce and nice little old ladies are clobbering each other over the last wonk-wheeled cart. All the chocolate you bought in week five for “presents” is gone, and now you have to shop for replacement gifts and new pants.
Then weeks 9 and 10 come crashing in like a tsunami of underachiever eggnog. Friends have their trees up, and you can’t even find the damned wrapping paper. It doesn’t really matter, because you don’t have much to wrap anyway. Your shopping list is on scraps of paper mixed in with candy wrappers scattered around bins of holiday decorations still dusty from the attic. The bins are just sitting there… judging you.
Christmas party invitations long ago accepted now require clothing that fits. Your choices are: go to the party looking like you crammed yourself into a sausage casing, or stay home swearing a blue streak while putting up your Christmas tree. Both options end in alcohol and bad food choices.
In comes week 11 in a blur of grumpy store clerks, flyers in the mailbox insisting that the after Christmas deals will be AMAZING and trips to stores that have nothing. This is the week when you take the basic decorations out of those damned bins, and try to get the house looking decent for the relatives. You struggle to find a turkey that isn’t anemic and run out to replace yet another round of chocolates.
Week 12 is officially considered “the holidays,” which means four minutes prior to giving a gift you are wrapping the gift. People come to your home, eat your food, and swan out leaving you with a messy kitchen. They noticed your dishes aren’t Christmas themed, and they judged you. The meal that took seven hours to cook was eaten in 20 minutes flat, and the gifts you managed to jam into paper under the tree are likely going to be returned. You never were clear on sizes for slippers anyway.
But don’t fret, my underachiever friend. You are not alone. The marathon of comfort and joy is over at week 12. Finish off the chocolate and eggnog on New Year’s Eve, put the bins back in the attic and give yourself a big old pat on the back — there is nothing wrong with a half-baked Christmas after 12 weeks of bad music.
(This post first ran on The Huffington Post.)