I know I'm not alone in thinking that the so-called holiday season is a mish mash of conflicting and overlapping symbols dedicated to the god of excess. When the first faint murmurings of Xmas begin to waft through the airwaves around Labor day, you know we're in trouble. At some point I expect to see Santa toting a pumpkin in his stuffed sack of goodies on his way to Bethlehem and a meeting with the three wise men who are dressed in Pilgrim garb and offering a sweet deal on an Xbox through their website. Somewhere along the way a stuffed turkey will be swaddled in a manger being worshiped by a host of ghouls and goblins while "Come All Ye Faithful" is rapped by carolers dressed in their Halloween costumes. And, of course, the mall will be open at 4 AM on Labor Day for those crazed shoppers who simply have to get started on their shopping for their Easter outfits, the groundhog be damned.
So maybe I exaggerate a bit. But we are being overwhelmed by the constant onslaught of holiday celebrations that run over each other, trampling the meaning and special flavor each of those hoidays used to have. When I was a boy (yeah, here comes the old codger rhapsodizing about the good old days)
Labor day meant the start of school and Autumn leaf raking and the anticipation of Halloween. Thanksgiving wasn't on the horizon until after Halloween had passed. Christmas was a distant dream at that point. Once the Thanksgiving turkey had been carved, then and only then, was it acceptable to start getting out the Christmas decorations and maybe begin humming a few bars of favorite Christmas songs.
Every holiday had its own time and place. There was little confusion about which one was being celebrated at any given time.
My fear is that our children and grandchildren and subsequent generations will lose out on all the fun that each of those holidays brought to the year. None will be special with their own particular flavor when all of them are tossed into the holiday stew we have now. Sometimes the good old days were just that--good.