The deluge of Christmas and craft

  Last weekend, for reasons beyond my control, I found myself in an arts and crafts store. Let me be clear – I love to draw paint, and make a mess as much as any second grader. But when I walk into a craft store, the smell of fake pine dust and Kelly Clarkson rattling through the outdated speakers makes me physically ill. Many moons ago, I actually enjoyed going to places like A.C. Moore and Michaels. As an 11 year old, nothing was more blissful than walking through aisles of stickers and bedazzled picture frames.   I have grown to loathe craft stores simply because there is absolutely nothing a person needs in the entire store. Nothing. Of course, you could say that about most stores today, but there is something particularly insidious about 5,000 square feet dedicated solely to the display of plastic flowers. Anyway, back to last weekend. Taking one last breath of fresh air, I crept through the sliding doors, my hands clenched in protest. The goal of the mission was to find Halloween decorations. Quickly. Immediately, I was hit by a wave of air that aspired to be apple-and-cinnamon scented. It smelled more like death. As I staggered through the displays of bats, pumpkins, and other original decorations, I was shocked by how puny the Halloween section actually was. It was, after all, the weekend before Halloween – what else could take up such valuable space? It was then that I turned the corner and collided with Santa. Suddenly, I was in Christmas wonderland. Glittering fake snow, snowman pillows and red ribbon – it was full-on Christmas warfare. In a dazed fashion, I wandered through the rows of paraphernalia, ignoring the overly enthusiastic employees who offered tips on how to make your own wreaths. Christmas already? It’s only October! I understand that stores want to make bags of money during the holiday season, and reminding customers early about the impending Christmas madness could encourage them to buy sooner. But sadly, the whole thing has blown out of proportion. Christmas has become a consumerist beast, squashing and overpowering every holiday that waltzes in its path. What happened to living in the present and enjoying holidays as they come one by one? How can we appreciate Thanksgiving when Christmas decorations spring up the very next day? There were, in fact, no Thanksgiving decorations, when in my opinion it is the best holiday of all. Sitting down with the family, diving into luscious mashed potatoes and saying what we are thankful for is way better than trying to appear breathtakingly happy about receiving yet another pair of wooly socks. I left the craft store with a grimace and no purchases to speak of. The image of the Christmas decorations looming over the Halloween mania was seared into my brain. After some reflection, I made a resolution. This year I am not going to think about Christmas whatsoever until December 1. I am going to delight in the presence of each holiday. Halloween will be drenched in colorful leaves and candy, Thanksgiving will be focused on gratitude and feasting and Christmas will be centered on family and tasty treats. Ultimately, I hope to escape the hype and lunacy that the holiday season and craft stores bring. Who’s with me?