Monday, October 29, 2007
Posted by Thomas MacEntee
I know it isn't even Halloween yet, but for me when I was growing up Halloween wasn't a big deal. For two reasons: 1) up until I was 13 we lived in an apartment and kids just didn't go into apartment buildings to knock on doors; and 2) after that we moved to a rural area 3 miles out of town. So instead of giving out candy, we went trick-or-treating as small kids but the whole idea of dressing up wore off quickly. Besides, Halloween is really more of a modern tradition that grows and grows each year due to slick marketing from costumers and candy companies. I've also been saying that the decision to move the end of Daylight Saving Time a week later, after Halloween, was so kids would have more daylight to trick or treat. As long as the kids are safe, it's fine by me!
Jasia over at Creative Gene sent me an e-mail mentioning that she saw her first Christmas-themed sales ad in the Sunday paper. Ugh! I know I am going to sound like an old f*rt when I say this, but here goes: I remember when you didn't see any mention of Christmas, be it store decorations or window displays, until the day after Thanksgiving. I grew up in upstate New York, about 100 miles NW of New York City. A big part of the "Christmas Magic" was knowing that on that Friday, the whole city would be transformed into this glittering wonderland. Or at least, as a kid I thought so. And Thanksgiving was all about watching the Macy's parade and who showed up at the end? Right, Santa Claus.
These days (insert old f*rt comment here), I see Christmas items creep into Costco at the end of August. Store decorations go up before Halloween. It ain't fittin'. It just ain't fittin'.
I have to admit though, I did start making Christmas decorations back in September. This will be the first year since I moved from California that we'll have room for a large live tree. And a 9 footer takes lots of ornaments. So by time I ordered supplies, mapped out ideas and concepts and color schemes, I knew I had to start early. I will be putting up a new blog called A Catskill Christmas (after Halloween of course) with photos, plans for ornaments, etc. The idea is to not only replicate some of the stuff I grew up with, but to use all natural materials such as nuts, cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices, bay leaves, dried flowers and even old photographs. Stay tuned.
And as if I didn't have enough to do (you should know that my friends say that I make Martha Stewart look like a dirty hippie), I've bounced this idea off of Jasia and I think I'll follow through with it: A Genealogy Advent Calendar. I'm going to do some more research today, but starting December 1st, I'd like to do a post a day about some aspect of Christmas and my family history. Postings about traditions, food, funny stories, even sad stories, cookie recipes (yum!) and more. It would also be neat if there were other genealogy bloggers willing to do a Genealogy Menorah around the eight days of Hanukkah, or even a Genealogy Kinara (the candle holder used during Kwanzaa ceremonies) describing the seven days of Kwanzaa.
Photo: this was my fireplace decorated for Christmas in 1997, San Francisco. I made all those items (except the poinsettias of course). Geez, I must have been smoking some good crack then.