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It seems that every year we are given more and more time to get ready for Christmas. Just today at Linens and Things I was apprehensively greeted by their already big, some might say overwhelming, Christmas section. Ready to purchase items included artificial trees, Christmas lights and enough holiday themed knick-naks to make even Marta Stewart cry herself to sleep.

I guess it’s ok that the stuff is out now. I mean why not? It doesn’t mean we have to buy it right? But what concerns me about stores jumping the gun with the Christmas season is the disappointment that will surely occur.

Every year we hear from parents saying they spent all their time (and money) trying to ensure the best Christmas ever, but what Tommy or Lucy really loved was the box that their new toys came in. You’ll also hear about kids that are actually disappointed with their Christmas haul and inevitably go back to playing with what they playing with before. We are inclined to think these children are spoiled or ungrateful, but is it their fault? Every year it seems that we as a society are setting ourselves up for a major Christmas disappointment.

To put it into perspective for us grown-ups, could you imagine if you knew that in 3 months you would have, what you were told, would be the best date you’ve had all year, maybe of your life? Imagine if everywhere you went your friends talked only about your upcoming date. The Gap even set aside a whole section of their store full of clothes that would make for good “date clothes”. I guess in a way it would be good because you would have three months to get ready for the special night. But on the flip side you and your date would have three months of anticipation to live up to. The longer we wait for something the bigger we expect that something to be. No matter how great the date actually is, it will never live up to the high expectations that you, your mind and your friends were expecting.

Starting the Christmas season so early works the same way. As nice as it is to spend time with your family and friends, when it’s all done don’t we always think: “Was that it?” And that is not because we are ungrateful, but because we have had nearly 100 days to get ready for the big day and faster than you can say “A Christmas Story marathon on TBS” it’s over. Done. Finito. By having stores already inundating us with A Christmas Carol décor already we have no chose but to begin our anticipation (and stress) towards the holiday season.

Christmas would work better for everyone if it came as a surprise. How great would it be if around December 20th we realized the big day was around the corner and that in a matter of days we would be surrounded by great food and better company? If kids weren’t given three months to come up with their lists, wouldn’t their “demands” be a lot more reasonable? If you go up to a kid suddenly and say: “Yo kid, what do you want?”, they’ll probably say one item and be happy with whatever it is. If you give them 12 weeks to come up with their wish list? Well, let’s just say there is a reason Visa Execs are always smiling around this time of year.

On a related note, I bought my tickets home for the holiday season. December 22nd to January 2nd. Get.Ready.Fredericton.

Mike Morrison