Small Talk

Countdown to the holidays has already started

I will reluctantly admit that October is gone. Now and only now will I say out loud the name of the next holiday — Thanksgiving. There.

But no, don’t do it. Don’t even breathe the C word. I don’t want to hear how many shopping days are left.

I scarcely want to put away my Halloween decorations, much less contemplate hauling out the red and green ones that require a pine tree.

Feel free to talk to me about stuffing recipes or the secret to perfect gravy. Tell me tales of Aunt Dodie’s Ptomaine Surprise gelatin salad.

But if you start in about that holiday which precedes the New Year, I will stick my fingers in my ears and holler.

Our very effective and valued system of free enterprise will see that I’m adequately reminded. That’s their job. Carols from the store muzak in late October annoy me, but were I in retail, I would do the same thing.

It’s just that I succumb easily to sensory overload if you make me juggle multiple holidays.

I refuse to consider that holiday-which-shall-not-be-named before the jack-o-lanterns are even fuzzy inside.

It isn’t that I don’t admire those who finish their holiday shopping before their children have eaten all their Halloween candy. I just cannot be one of them. I tried it one year and the results were just embarrassing. I began my shopping in early fall and then hid things cleverly for later wrapping. I found them in April. Their existence had not crossed my mind since the day I put them in that bottom drawer behind my old sweat clothes. My children found it quite hilarious that I (A): had completely forgotten that I squirreled things away and (B): they got lost you-know-what gifts around Easter time. I, who would have preferred the extra cash, was not so amused.

As if my shoddy memory skills weren’t hurdle enough, I was shortsighted enough to give birth to my first child on Dec. 5. The good news is she was early. The bad news is she still has a birthday just weeks before that late-December holiday. After 27 years, you’d think she would expect less, but no deal. She bases her expectations on the life-sized Candyland game I staged for her fifth birthday. She has a special look reserved for those times I foolishly hint that this year we downscale. It could melt diamonds.

Hence, my only survival technique is to take one celebration at a time. Even then, it requires a flurry of list making, furious shopping and copious labeling to separate what is for her birthday and what is held in abeyance for … you know… later.

I know it will be here before we know it. I know you can freeze holiday-baked goods. I don’t care. So, let’s talk turkey.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer in holiday denial. Contact her at