Turf & Rec

Hallowistmas: a fun time for shopping

December 3, 2010  By Ian Robinson

The Halloween decorations were still up in the stores when they started putting up the Christmas displays.

It’s my favourite time of year; I like to call it Hallowistmas.

I always try to get into department stores on Nov. 1 because that’s when the two holidays officially overlap.

It’s the only time of year that you can see a cardboard zombie ready to eat Santa; reindeer cowering in fear as evil witches fly overhead.

It’s also the only time of year when you can simultaneously purchase that brown molasses chewy candy wrapped in orange paper and a candy cane.

Back in the day, I used to horrify my dentist by turning up every Nov. 1 with at least one missing filling, dragged out of my jaw by the sticky goo that is molasses Halloween candy.
My dentist would yell at me.

“Dude, it’s Halloween,” I'd explain.

He’d say, “Dude, you’re over 40 years old.”

I’d say, “Dude, what’s your point?”

He’d say, “You’re too old for Halloween. And quit calling me dude. You’re too old to be calling anybody dude, dude. I went to school like forever and spent tens of thousands of dollars to become a dentist. Show some respect.”

And I’d say, “OK, Doctor Dude.”

Shockingly, after all these years, I still have the same dentist. Man’s a saint.

Usually when people talk about how the Christmas decorations go up the day after Halloween, it’s the prelude to a full-blown whine about how Christmas has got too commercialized.

I know. No such thing, right?

The minute I hear people complaining about the commercialization of Christmas, I want to take them aside and explain to them quietly and logically why they’re wrong.

Actually that’s not true.

I want to yell obscenities at them and punch them until they stop ruining a perfectly good holiday for the rest of us, but I don’t do that ’cause it’s Christmas and I’m pretty sure that you’re not supposed to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus — aka the Prince of Peace — by punching people who annoy you in the face.

I know. The New Testament needs a rewrite to incorporate more punching.

Also I don’t have the time for either sweet reason or sweet violence or rewriting the New Testament for that matter, because I’m too busy shopping for Christmas presents.
We live in a Golden Age of shopping.

When my father was young and his family wanted to go shopping, there was a once-a-week trip into town from the family farm in a beat-up old pickup truck. He used to have to sit in the back out in the rain and the snow and the sun because his mother and father and two younger siblings got to sit up front on the single bench seat.

And when they got to town, there was a grocery store, a hardware store and what they called a five-and-dime — the ancestor of the modern department store.

From our perspective, it was the Stone Age of Shopping.

Primitive. Harsh. Unforgiving.

And when I was young — get this — you couldn’t shop on Sundays or Wednesday afternoons. Seriously. All the shopkeepers in town decided that it was wrong to be open seven days a week, that they had to give time to their families and themselves and so every store in town closed on Sundays and Wednesday afternoons.

Which left entire towns with absolutely nothing to do a day and a half each week.
Which may explain why married couples had more kids than they do today. Well, that and the fact that a lot of places had but a single television station.

Now, not only can I shop seven days a week, because I live in a city, I CAN SHOP 24 HOURS A DAY.

Although, to be honest, Walmart at 4 a.m.? Kind of like a scene from Zombieland. And that’s just the way the customers look. Don’t even get me started on the staff. Although it’s good to know that if I ever need to buy a sports jacket, a television set, a giant package of sweat socks, 12 pounds of beef jerky and a hunting knife at 4 a.m., Walmart is there for me.

Thanks to smart phones and the Internet, I’ve seen women shoe-shopping online while they stood in line at Walmart buying more shoes.

You can shop online for anything from the comfort of your own home. And so you stay current with what guys like you are buying, the shopping browser tells you that “People who bought the Inflatable Irene Personal Pleasure Companion System also bought: World of Warcraft and the Captain Picard Omnibus, a guide to Star Trek’s sexiest Star Fleet captain.”

Um, at least that’s what I’ve heard. That would just be an example that I pulled out of thin air. Really.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

At any rate, that’s not the kind of shopping we’re talking about here. We’re talking Christmas.

And while it would make for a fun video memory, I can’t see actually giving somebody an inflatable sex doll for Christmas.

Somehow, it just seems kind of in bad taste, although that could just mean that I’m more uptight than you are.

And if I am … well, you’re going to have a more fun Christmas morning than I am, that’s for sure.

I think all I’m getting is the Captain Picard Omnibus.

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