It was the second week of September.  Just after Labor Day.  I was innocently shopping at my local Fred Meyer store when I saw it.  A couple of aisles had been transformed into the place to buy your Christmas lights.  The season has begun.

As the big day drew closer, there were more and more signs of the season.  Advertisements for items suitable for holiday gifts increased during September and October.  Christmas decor was up in places before Halloween.  At a 24-hour grocery store that I found myself at after midnight on Halloween, the Christmas candy displays had already replaced those from the day’s holiday.

I think that by Thanksgiving, I had almost had enough of the Christmas season.  There was more to come, though.  It was unavoidable.  Much of the traditions we associate with Christmas were gone, but the marketing was still there.  Somehow, it all felt so empty.  But we went through the motions of Christmas anyway.

Finally, the week of Christmas arrived.  Interactions with my customers went beyond “Thank you and have a great day” and added “and Merry Christmas” too.  We did the duty and wished each other a happy holiday.  We weren’t sure which holiday the other actually celebrated, but we did it anyway.  It is the social norm.

Finally the day arrived.  It went much like every other holiday:  An excuse for a day off.  Or a part of a day off, in any case.

But it was the following day that it really hit me.  After over three months of preparing for the holiday, the actual day came and went mostly as an afterthought.  Except that the next day, we weren’t wishing one another a happy holiday, of any kind, anymore.  Back to normal.  The holiday is gone.

It all makes me want to just wait next year for the week before Christmas to acknowledge it, then go from there.  It might not dilute the experience as much.

So many possibilities.  I’m just wondering who killed Christmas.  Anybody see it out there?