Friday, November 6, 2009

A Frosty Friday...

It's a frosty Friday morning and I'm ready for the weekend. As I drove in, the frost was thick on the cars parked outside, the grass and on the tall piles of leaves that have been raked at the side fo the street.

I always think it's nice to see those piles of leaves. I admire the people who rake that diligently because all it really takes is one gusty day or one enthusiastic leaf-pile-jumper and all those leaves are scattered again.

I have a lot of leaves in my own yard. I don't even have a tree. I have a sneaking suspicion that the leaves came from both the hickory nut tree or the sycamore tree that belongs to my neighbour. I suppose I could rake the leaves but the thing is, I don't want to. I personally like a coating of leaves because I think it does the grass good to be covered up for winter; sort of a thermalizing effect.

Also, it means that if I have too many leaves, I can't really find my lawn which means I don't have to mow anymore. The Dog Whisperer next door mowed his lawn last weekend. My own grass hasn't really grown that much since it's hit the 'hibernation' period. His grass wasn't that long either. I've always heard that you're not supposed to mow after the first heavy frost because it's bad for the grass. Since he now has several dead-looking patches, I can't help but think there might be something to this. Even if there's not, I don't care. It's a handy excuse to avoid mowing the lawn.

I'm hoping this Friday will fly by. All in all, it hasn't been a bad week. Most of the managers have been gone at conferences and the atmosphere in the office is a little more relaxed. Besides, it's Friday and everyone loves Friday.

I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend but, then again, that's nothing new. I'm not sure what I'm up to yet for the weekend. It's supposed to be Indian summer weather in which it gets up to nearly 70. Since I have some final work to do in the garden, I need to get that done this weekend. There's a lot of things that need to be cut back so that they don't rot and make a mess over the winter.

In addition, I want to do a little Christmas shopping. I'm liking my strategy of starting very early with shopping because it's making it more economical. If I see a good gift for someone at a good price, I'll buy it.

Yet, just because I plan on doing a little shopping, it doesn't mean that I think it's really time to start getting ready for Christmas. As I blogged last year almost on this exact same day, it seems as though Christmas is already in full swing, according to the retailers. Last night was my 'busy' TV night and even though some of the shows were recorded on my handy-dandy DVR, I still had to sit through commercials. Apparently, it's time to start decorating, to start buying cell phones as gifts and going to 'pre-Thanksgiving' sales with the "Lowest Prices EVER for the holidays."

I don't know why I'm still horrified that we're already seeing these advertisements. By now, you'd think I'd be used to it. Retailers want people to jump into the holidays with both feet starting the day after Halloween. Actually, if I want to get nit-picky, they started stocking Christmas stuff at Walmart about two weeks before Halloween. Yet, as much as I love Christmas and all the trimmings that go with it, I'm not ready to start getting ready for Christmas. I want to enjoy that Thanksgiving turkey first. I want to feel that little rush of thrill when I'm close enough to Christmas that I can start getting excited about it. I can't do that now although, I confess, when I got to a store and see aisles of decorations, wrapping paper and lights, I want to start getting ready for it. This idea, naturally, makes me angry when I make myself remember the date. I'm being manipulated by retailers and manufacturers and I don't like it.

I mentioned the other day that there's a house on my street that has the decorations up already. I've noticed that every day, they add to it. It started with candy canes lighting the driveway. Then they added a row of ginormous outdoor fairy lights. I say ginormous because they're not actually normal lights; they're these massive plastic things that are more like a lawn decoration than a lighting method. On Tuesday, they added a snowman to their yard. Yesterday, they added a penguin and a caroler. Today, they've added a stack of 'presents'. I'm not sure about those. They're no plastic-made-for-the-outdoors type of decoration, they're actually cardboard boxes wrapped up with shiny wrapping paper and tied with ribbon bows. They've been out there less than 24 hours and, already, they're looking a little saggy and soggy. I'm thinking they're going to be one of those Griswold type of families that is going to be the best and brightest house on the block by the time it actually is close to Christmas. Thus, they add slowly but surely and eventually, their house will be visible from outer space because of the glow.

I haven't seen anyone else in my neighbourhood put their decorations up yet but since it's the weekend and it's now been a week since Halloween, others will most likely follow. I'm not going to join them. The most I'll do is peruse the sales and see if there's anything worth squirreling away until Christmas. I will NOT be putting my decorations out yet. Also, I will not be listening to Christmas music yet even though the radio tries to tell me otherwise. There's a station that I flick to once in a while that has now become "All Christmas Music, All the Time!" It's TOO early!

Ok, I'm not going to talk about that anymore. Although I'm curious to hear an opposing viewpoint to mine as to why we should be preparing for the holidays already. So, if you have one, comment away and I'll happily entertain the notion of breaking out my Transiberian Orchestra CD's and baking gingerbread.

Most likely though, I'll try to ignore the fact that it's hard to walk in a store and avoid the Christmas merchandise. Even the giftcards that places like Target, Walmart and K-Mart have on sale are emblazened with festive decorations. The question I have about this is...REALLY? Do we need Christmas gift cards yet? I mean, hello, it's a GIFT CARD. It's not exactly something that stores are going to run out of. The one thing they want to ensure is that people will spend money in their store and gift-cards are the most secure way of doing that. Thus, you can walk into store at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve and buy a Christmas gift card. You don't need to run out and fight the crowds for one of those so, I ask, is there any reason we should have them on display already? I'm not going to buy those yet! If I did, I'd probably talk myself into using it and buying the intended recipient something else!

Still, there is no escape: In the World of Retail Merchandise, the holidays are already here. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's going to stop. All I have to do is not let myself get sucked into the vortex of hollyberry scents, shiny ornaments and glittery lights.


Happy Friday! Have a great weekend.

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