As a young child, I heard many adults complain about the holiday season starting earlier and earlier each year. Picture your local grocer or pharmacy awash in red, green and various colors of metallic tinsel, elves and Santa figurines and yard ornaments – the week before Halloween.
As a 13 year old, I attached myself to these complaints – wanting to be as disillusioned and non-compliant as possible, I griped about the commercialization of Christmas and the fact that the length of the season was only a testament to the greediness of human kind…and stuff, you know?
My parents (rightfully) told me to be quiet.
Now a mother of a 3-year old daughter, I was stunned about a week before Thanksgiving when the apple of my eye turned to me inside of one of those familiar family markets of my own childhood and said, “Mommy – it is Christmas. Where is a turkey?”
I explained that the turkey was still around, but Christmas was getting a head start because it was a very competitive holiday.
Then I kicked myself.
Why impose sarcasm on a 3-year old about a time of year when most people are better than they are the rest of the year; when most people really make an effort to follow the example of whatever or whomever they believe in, and make resolutions to better themselves for the long-run.
I understand that Hallmark and major toy companies may have overtaken Christmas to those who choose not to see the good about the holiday, but if you take a close look, you’ll notice small but tender moments all around.
Like my mom telling the neighborhood kids – heads askance - that yes, of course she still believes in the Spirit of Santa – why wouldn’t she?
Or my uncles and other men-folk in the family arguing for hours over the last piece of honey ham, but the final slices staying in the refrigerator for days – none of them wanting to be greedy- before my mom orders someone to eat them before they go to waste.
Or my cousins and I picking names and resolving to make gifts for each other this year – because it’s cooler and it means more that way - with a budget of no more than $7.50 for supplies - and exchanging at my Aunt, Uncle and cousin’s house on Christmas eve-eve where we meet each year.
I suppose the point of this blog – housed in a branding site – is to brand your own Christmas spirit and to stick with it. Notice the small traditions and look to them when the commercialization or ridiculous nature of the earliness of holiday décor gets under your skin. After all, a solid brand - like those people we love most - can solve any anxiety.
Certainly my small slip up of sarcasm with my daughter will come back to haunt me when she turns 13 ten Novembers from now.
I’ll be ready with gobs of genuine belief in the Christmas spirit…and maybe some saccharine sayings I made fun of when I was her age for good measure…I can’t let the irony go altogether.
The Russo Group