Christmas come earlier | Reporter's Notebook

A symptom of one of this nation's most pressing issues reared its ugly head in my hometown last week, days before schedule and without warning or reason. Holiday decorations, which amount to a few wreaths around light posts and a few strings of light near the 100-foot high Cedar tree in the center of town unceremoniously sprung up, signaling the beginning to the December holiday season.

In years past, neighbors gathered around to watch the lights come alive to signify the turn of the holiday season.

This year I assume many, like myself, got our first glimpse on the Thursday morning commute through town.

Decorations are just one example of the December holidays encroaching into November, which seems to see its marquee holiday celebrated more for the sales to come the following day than the gesture it is named for: giving thanks.

Black Friday has turned into "Black Thursday" and even "Black Thanksgiving Week" as sales have moved the once-sacred retail holiday into a week-long price cutting bonanza. Christmas music, which traditionally began playing only after Thanksgiving dessert has been consumed, has become appropriate weeks earlier than in years past.

It isn't the break from tradition that is the most bothersome, it's the mindset behind it.

Thanksgiving is not just a day full of food comas and a bad Detroit Lions football game, it's a day of reflection. Whether or not your family goes around the table to offer up something each is thankful for, the thoughts of those who sacrifice for our own well-being are never far off on Turkey Day.

On Black Friday, in a whirlwind of discounts and doorbusters, that all changes, and with good reason.

While we shop for gifts to give others, the reality of the American consumer Christmas experience for many is give-to-receive.

Most of us only give gifts to those we know will return the gesture and homemade gifts or baked goods seem increasingly rare. It was just a generation ago that citrus fruit was a sought-after stocking stuffer, but that no doubt seems further in the past as we receive yet another pen that doubles as a flashlight and moonlights as a tire pressure gauge.

Without a doubt, the litany of fundraisers for coats, toys, food and gifts make the December portion of the Holiday season one of the most expansive for charity giving and that part of the holiday season is welcome to extend year-round as far as I'm concerned.

But Consumer Christmas can wait, at least until 12:00 a.m. on Black Friday.

Contact and submissions: jsuman@bellevuereporter.com

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