December 1, 2004
The Rules

So there it was: the first holiday commercial of the 2004 season. 

It 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 consumerism. Ho Ho Ho! it chirped. Happy Holidays!  Peace on earth, good will to all credit account holders in good standing!

It was the day after Halloween.

"Uh-oh," Jaymi said, when I called her at work later that morning. "Does this mean we're not allowed to shop at Target this year?"  

For most of her 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 front porch. 

I seem to be acquiring some tolerance in my middle age. 

"Nahhh," I told her.  "Feel free to shop anywhere you please."   

Target, Macy's, 7-11, Lloyd's 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 it 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?


next        previous        home        archives        want to throw a rock?    

© secraterri 1998-2004
all rights reversed reserved!
comments/questions/spelling corrections HERE
~ nil bastardum carborundum ~

besides: there are all sorts of OTHER ridiculous non-reasons to boycott target this year  ...
if boycotting is your thing, that is.
[personally, i prefer throwing eggs.]