Jamestown Gazette

The Holidays? Oh, No!

Photo Credit: Metro Creative Connection

Contributing Writer

Paul Leone

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a Scrooge. More than a bit. And I don’t mean that Scrooge who has come to a late realization that the Hallmark version of Christmas, fluffy white snowflakes and sleigh bells and ruddy cheeks and universal goodwill, even approaches Reality. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to consider Christmas, more than anything else, a Humbug, but I do agree there is a certain humbug quality to the affair. You know what I’m talking about: Gross commercialization.

I’m quite sure I’m not alone in thinking the terminology Black Friday rather sinister. On the other hand I do appreciate the long suffering retailers waiting forever on tenterhooks for their shaky businesses to become profitable.

Incidentally, this Saturday, November 25, is Small Business Saturday in Chautauqua County. The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has endorsed a no holds barred appeal to holiday shoppers to get out there and visit your neighbors, and buy from them. The time is slipping away. Not to worry, prognosticators, Cyber Monday follows close upon.

The holidays wouldn’t be so bad, I suppose, if they weren’t so damnably interminable. I say get beyond, well beyond, Thanksgiving before stressing over Christmas. Please, at least get beyond Halloween.

I am a big fan of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has that forgiving virtue of lasting a single day. (Prep time not included, it goes without saying. Nor clean-up time. Which, I’ll be the first to confirm, tends to elevate the stress level in the family.)

The downside of Thanksgiving, I hope you will agree, is the Hallmark interpretation. Did the American Indian welcome with open arms his pale-faced brethren? I’m skeptical. I’m reminded of a favorite New Yorker drawing from some years back: a group of Indians assembled on the ocean shore is observing a wooden ship approach carrying cartoonishly dressed passengers. The caption reads something like: Maybe we should build a wall?

The first bell-ringer of the season stood outside Brigiotta’s last week as I was shopping. Poor devil. I watched for awhile the many shoppers exiting and passing him by with faux nonchalance, and decidedly ignoring the kettle. Already? I can hear them saying.

The more startling overeager holiday hurrying, however, was, and still is, the extravagant Christmas lighting displays on two Falconer Street homes in nearly facing each other in the vicinity of Winsor Street. Absolutely, in your face as if in competition to be the first and best of the city’s lights this year. The first appeared before Halloween. My initial reaction was shock and despair. Humbug. Yet, I have come around to increasing appreciation.

Happy Holidays!

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