I knew I was in trouble when I heard “Today” show host Matt Lauer and TV doctor Mehmet Oz exchange a simple but startling pleasantry at the conclusion of a segment this week.
My mind starting racing.
What month is it? How long have I been asleep? Did I sleep through Thanksgiving? I hope my mom saved me some pie.
To my relief and bewilderment, I had not lapsed into a coma but again was caught offguard by the desire of some to start anticipating Thanksgiving and Christmas sometime after Columbus Day.
Given the onslaught of holiday commercials and Yule-themed advertising currently saturating our magazines and television sets, you would think Dec. 25 was looming and the number of shopping days had dwindled to single digits.
Look, I get why this happens and why we seem to be inundated with these ads earlier and earlier every year.
Advertisers and retailers want our money, hoping that we will open our wallets early and often enough over the next two months to buoy the retail sector through the rest of the year.
But how early is too early?
ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” programming schedule begins Nov. 18. I wasn’t a math major, but I don’t think those numbers work.
I started seeing holiday commercials shortly after Election Day, which is certainly the earliest I can recall seeing ads featuring affluent couples giving each other luxury sedans topped with oversized red ribbons.
I mean, come on.
And this isn’t me being a grinch. I’m a self-proclaimed Christmas freak, but celebrating the season in early November feels insane and often comes at the expense of another fairly significant holiday — Thanksgiving, or as advertisers call it, “The Day Before Those Walking Cash Sieves Barbarically Trample Each Other to Buy Junk They Don’t Need at Steep Discounts.”
But hey, if this is what we’re doing, I might as well get in the spirit, right? Let’s do this early holiday thing.
From my family to yours, Happy Groundhog Day!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Happy Fourth of July!
Ridiculous, right? When did we become so holiday-obsessed? Well, not me. I’m not going to allow Madison Avenue to fast-forward my life and tell me when I should get excited about Christmas.
Regardless of when I begin seeing ads featuring some hapless dope presenting his girlfriend or wife with some chintzy heart-shaped necklace while snowed-in during an impossibly destruction-free blizzard, I’m going to celebrate the holidays my way.
That means my tree goes up shortly after Black Friday.
I won’t start gorging myself on Christmas cookies or watching “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Home Alone” on a loop until early December.
We need to take a stand or prepare for Christmas in July to taken on a new and more literal meaning.
This week, in honor of our increasingly accelerated holiday schedule, eight songs to get you in the holiday spirit — for Groundhog Day.
Sure, winter hasn’t started, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fret over whether a rodent who lacks the cognition to recognize his own shadow sees it while being hoisted in the air by some clown in a top hat.
• Sonny & Cher, “I Got You, Babe” — Had to include at least one “Groundhog’s Day” film reference in this column. I was sad to learn there are no songs about Ned Ryerson.
• Primus, “Groundhog’s Day” — A funky, weird little song, not unlike nearly every Primus song.
• The Doc Watson Family, “Ground Hog” — When did it stop being cool to write folk songs about ground hogs?
• John Lee Hooker, “Ground Hog Blues” — Think being a groundhog is so easy? Give this song a listen. It’s a tough life.
• Keane, “My Shadow” — This is what I’m guessing Punxsutawney Phil listens to as he stares in the bathroom mirror, hating himself.
• The Avett Brothers, “February Seven” — The Valentine’s Day advertising should be starting any day now.
• The Head and The Heart, “Winter Song” — Will it be more winter or ...
• Two Door Cinema Club, “Spring” — More spring. Only the groundhog knows. And meteorologists. But don’t ruin this. It’s so folksy!