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My Annual Christmas Rant

Web posted on December 05, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

It's the beginning of December and not much has changed since last year's rant about how we should be celebrating Christmas. If anything, things have gotten worse instead of better. The kids hadn't finished digesting the Halloween goodies, and Remembrance Day was more than a week away, but several TV channels in their infinite wisdom had decided that we needed to see Christmas movies. Obviously the marketing people from the retail industry had convinced the program directors that it was time to put us in the Christmas Spirit. Bah Humbug.

A certain department store closed off a major Toronto street, paid an exorbitant amount of money to an artist to sing two songs just to unveil their Christmas windows. That's one company that will never get any of my money. Bah Humbug! If they had donated that much money to providing gifts for needy kids or the food bank I would have been impressed.

I remember when it was a big deal to see the Christmas windows at the Simpson's store in London. They waited until the Santa Claus parade (last Saturday in November) had passed to open the curtains on the Christmas windows. That was civilized. This year the parade was held on November 12. More Humbug! According to CKCO TV (I refuse to call them CTV Kitchener), there are 43 Santa parades in the area. There are parades in places that don't even have a Tim Horton's.

Must we have a month of Black Fridays? Even the auto industry is getting into the act. Enough already! Boxing Day has become Boxing Week, and some retailers now use that term for sales at any time of the year. They certainly know how to channel our inner Scrooge.

As for the Christmas movies and specials, there is barely enough quality material to give us a couple of weeks worth of TV time and that includes the fireplace video. I think I have all the good Christmas movies in my video collection and they take up less than a quarter of a shelf. There are probably less than a dozen really good Christmas movies and most of them are in black and white. There are also about the same number of good Christmas specials. The rest of them are like the little gifts left behind by reindeer, but much more aromatic. Ever get the feeling that we should be cheering for the Grinch?

I don't want to hear Christmas carols until the beginning of December. The stores and malls are force feeding us Christmas music. Some radio stations started their around the clock Christmas music marathons even before the Great Pumpkin returned to the pumpkin patch. They have to dig pretty deep to find enough stuff to play. How many variations of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" can they find? There is probably a Klingon version of "Silent Night" that some radio station will find and play. By the way, does anyone know if there is a Klingon translation of Bah Humbug?

There should be absolutely no Christmas advertising, movies, TV specials/movies or radio stations running carols until after Remembrance Day. This is a serious disrespect of our veterans and those who gave their lives. The time between Halloween and Remembrance Day should be used as a time of reflection. It is a little too late for this year but next October we should be calling the radio and TV stations and telling them that they must not start their Christmas programming until after Remembrance Day. I suppose that we could even call them early in the new year. They should be broadcasting something more appropriate. We certainly cannot count on the CRTC to do anything about it. I plan to do a revisit early next fall to start the campaign going.

To all those people who turn on their Christmas lights while there are still leaves on the trees: Bah Humbug!!!

American Thanksgiving is a good time to start the Christmas season. That gives everyone a chance to ease into the spirit slowly.

They still don't get the notion that you can't force the Christmas Spirit. It must come from within not from the marketing people. Spreading it out over months is just not right. People start tuning it out. It's all about the money and not the real meaning of Christmas. The Humbug just keeps coming.

Yet at the same time there is the movement especially in our schools to stop using the word "Christmas" because it might offend someone. What a glorious mess. On one hand they want us to spend until the credit cards melt down and bombard us with all the Christmas stuff, but we are not supposed to wish anyone "Merry Christmas." The marketing people and the politically correct types are locked in an epic battle the likes of which we have not seen since Godzilla had some issues with Gamera.

I am not offended by the mention of Eid, Diwali, or Hanukkah at the appropriate time. On the other hand, I am deeply offended when someone wishes me Season's Greetings or Happy Holidays. What season do they mean, what holidays are the talking about? Maybe next spring when the garage sale season starts I will wish everyone Season's Greetings. Next July First, I should wish everyone Happy Holiday. Sounds pretty silly doesn't it?

I am proud to say that it has been years since my last visit to a mall. I refuse to go to any of the Black Friday or Boxing Day insanity. As I said last year, I prefer to do my shopping in other ways such as garage sales, auctions, the used book sale and Christmas Bazaars. A gift from a big box is very impersonal. I realize that my type of shopping does not work for parents with kids who must have the latest greatest toy as decided by the marketing people. The same could be said for some adults out there who must have that new gadget and can't wait for the bugs to be worked out. With more and more bazaars every year I decided that I will no longer go to any of those places that advertise winter or holiday bazaars. If they can't bother to use the word Christmas, I can't be bothered to go.

It's time to take back Christmas and celebrate it the way it was meant to be. It's the spirit of giving that counts, not how much it costs. It's spending quality time with friends, family and of course good food. Humbug to the marketing types and to the politically correct types out there. May Rudolph and all his reindeer friends reward you with their gifts, and may they be very generous.

Which reminds me, my annual Christmas gift list, or as prefer to call it The Lumpies, is only a couple of weeks away.

Merry Christmas to all, and Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends.

As always, enjoy responsibly, and don't drive if you plan to get into the Christmas spirits.

Welcome back Robert. I look forward to reading your columns again.

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.

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