To everything, there is a season. A time for sowing and reaping, for flowers and snow, for beaches and fire pits. I’m beginning to wonder, though, who is dictating the seasons these days. Whoever it is has some pretty interesting priorities.
Take Halloween. I love Halloween and given a choice, I would celebrate all year with ghoulish treats and ridiculous costumes. However, I know that in actuality I would tire of plastic vampire fangs and stripper-quality Bride of Frankenstein heels within a week. What makes holidays and seasons special is the limited time you spend with them. The novelty can only last so long before you start wishing for fewer zombies and more reindeer.
This basic reality seems to have escaped producers out there, who appear to be of the opinion that more is better ad nauseam. According to candy companies, I should have been devouring on ghost-shaped chocolates back in August, presumably to make sure I’m properly fattened for the traditional mid-winter sacrifice to ensure that the sun rises on January 1st. Companion to Halloween, Pumpkin Season is already laying claim to coffees and confections a whole month before pumpkins are normally harvested. And don’t even say “Black Friday” to me! It’s a despicable display of consumer greed and big business chicanery that we fall for every year, lambs obediently led to financial slaughter. Do you think they’ll finally make that one day of x-games level elbowing stretch to a week this year?
Then there is Christmas, which starts earlier than Halloween, barely holding back long enough to let the Back-to-School rush cool down. I have long had a touchy relationship with “the most wonderful time of the year,” primarily because of Christmas songs. As an Army musician, we logically started preparing for holiday concerts in October, and after doing two or three parades in freezing weather, Frosty the Snowman became a sickening dirge in my soul. Since getting out, I have cringed through the piping of Jingle Bells before Halloween, have sickened at the crass commercialism, and dreaded the ever-increasing expectations for the latest toy for the nieces and nephews to tire of before the colorful wrapping paper hits the floor. I have to tell myself that the season of joy and goodwill toward men is only for children, because the adults are demonstrating none of these things. The adults are too busy bickering over what the holiday is about, how it should be celebrated, and who is allowed to celebrate it.
If this is upsetting to you, good. It should be. We have allowed Starbucks and Walmart to define our needs. Yes, needs. We do not equate the holidays as a time to splurge a bit on “wants” for others. We need to fill the stockings. We need to cover the lawn in giant, inflatable Charlie Brown Halloween tableaus. We need to drink clove-heavy “pumpkin” coffee for four months. It’s for a limited time only! We only have a third of the year to enjoy cloves and nutmeg and cinnamon! BUY ALL THE THINGS!!!
Well, I love pumpkin season. I love pumpkin coffee, cupcakes, and donuts. I am well-known for my pumpkin muffins, which I roast my own pumpkin for. But I am tired of it being shoved down my throat for more profit. This season, I will not be affirming their marketing practices. I will not pretend that it’s sweater weather when it’s 80° outside. I will not force fall on my senses. I will enjoy the lasting vestiges of summer until the season has passed. Then I will glory in the changing colors and the crisp air with a pumpkin coffee.