'Tis the season - and not soon enough

  • Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This past weekend the Sergeant Major and I stopped by a Wal-Mart to check on ammo when something made me stop dead in my tracks. No, it wasn't a pink camo hoodie. It was music: and not just any music. The song was "Hark the Herald Angels Sing".  It's 80 degrees outside. The trees haven't changed color. The grass is still green. "This can't be," I whispered to myself (cause people do that when they are questioning their sanity but don't want anyone to know they are).

With bended ear, I followed the drifting chorus till it to lead me to the mother load of all holidays. My work-week-weary eyes grew bigger than 32-inch hubcaps on a hip-hop ride as they gazed upon the walls of sparkling ornaments in purple, pink, silver and gold. I blinked: then blinked again. "This cannot be," I reiterated, while trying desperately to wake up from this beautiful nightmare.

Halloween is two weeks away. Thanksgiving is six weeks away. Why do I need to go into debt a month and a half early? It's all about marketing and the nucleus accumbens. Jonah Leher, author of How We Decide explains that merchandising tricks can actually alter our brain chemistry. Apparently, when we see pretty or fetching stuff in the store the nucleus accumbens pump the happy chemical dopamine into our brain. Unfortunately, dopamine takes over the rational thinking part of the brain, and if you're not in the spend thrift mood - WHAM - hello awesome Fiber Optic Christmas tree.

The more I tried to escape from the holiday hell, the more my body and the shopping cart gravitated toward the "metallic shred" filler, sequin studded gift boxes, and fake Christmas trees in green, white and black. That teacup-size black chandelier with the tiny plastic crystals won't be there next week, I told myself convincingly. Oh, and wouldn't that blue, red and pink polka-dotted tissue paper be just jazzy spilling out from a lime-green gift box?

The origins of the phrase "Bah, Humbug" are as clear as the 42 types of outdoor lights twinkling above my head. I'm afraid by the time the holiday arrives my penchant for "Frosty the Snowman" will be embraced about as much as a snowball in the face. And in the meantime, I'll hoard my bootie and fight the urge to succumb to buyer's remorse.

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