So there it was: the first holiday commercial of the 2004
was of those big/noisy/logo-intensive production
numbers for Target, filled with catchy music,
quirky camera angles, clever product placement,
attractive young actors feigning orgasm over
kichen appliances. (I dunno. Would
*you* wax orgasmic over an electric cookie press?
I'm not sure *I* would ... unless it came with actual COOKIES, maybe.)
I caught the commercial during The Matt Lauer
Show, as I was drying my hair for work: I actually
shut off the Conair QuietTone 1875 in mid-blast so I could
listen to it. The ad -- bright, brief,
sparkly, like a champagne
cocktail served in a blue plastic flute -- was
clearly designed to to imbue the
viewer with an early sense
of holiday spirit and/or confident
Ho Ho! it chirped. Happy
Holidays! Peace on earth, good will to all credit account
holders in good standing!
was the day after Halloween.
Jaymi said, when I called her at work later that
morning. "Does this mean we're not allowed to shop at Target
growing-up years, this was Mommy's Rule: If
they advertise before Thanksgiving, they don't get *our* business. (This ran concurrently with Mommy's 43,897,621 OTHER Rules of Christmas, including If they play Christmas
music before Thanksgiving, we boycott the radio
station ... If they mail us a Christmas card before
Thanksgiving, they're off the list forever ...
If they hang their Christmas lights before
Thanksgiving, we egg their house at midnight. ) Looking back, I think my rules
had less to do with me being Scroogelike about the
holidays -- although I WAS Scroogelike about the
holidays, quite a lot of the time: I still am, occasionally, if you push the wrong buttons -- than with my
need to maintain absolute control over our
household environment. As a frazzled
young mother of three, desperate to
provide her children with a Macy's Christmas on
a 7-11 budget, nothing peeved me more than
having the holiday season crammed down my throat
before I was ready. I imagine I would have ruptured
a cerebral artery, back in 1991, if they'd dared to
advertise for Christmas before we'd
even finished shovelling the rotting jack-o-lanterns off the
to be acquiring some tolerance in my middle
I told her. "Feel free to shop anywhere you
Target, Macy's, 7-11,
House of Parallel Flange Indicators ... it doesn't matter to me,
one way or the other. All of *my* holiday shopping will be
conducted the same way it has been
conducted for the past four or five years: in
bed, in my Happy Pants, on my laptop. I did three-quarters of
last week, on the day after Thanksgiving: I'll finish the rest
of it this weekend. If retailers want to start
bombarding us with Christmas commercials two months in
advance -- hell, if they want to bombard us SIX
months in advance: a little Old Navy holiday
fleece to go along with our Fourth of July
iced tea, perhaps? -- I'm simply not
going to allow it faze me anymore. These days, my rules of
Christmas have been boiled right down to basics:
1.) No hazelnuts in my cookies.
2.) There are no other rules.
Life is just too damn short. Where is it written
that the holiday season has to be, too?
to throw a rock?