By the time you read this, Halloween will have come and gone.
The retailers have marked the leftover candy down to half-price or less. And the aisle that just a few days ago was home to jack-o’-lanterns, ghosts and goblins is now the home to Santa, reindeer and everything Christmas.
I was in a major department store recently and the Christmas décor was already on display before we made it past Halloween.
In another era, the Sears Christmas catalog, the Wish Book, would come out in October. It would be another month before the store would be decorated for Christmas.
The catalog was an opportunity to begin looking at what would be in the stores soon. I can remember when stores such as Western Auto and Economy Auto would open their Toyland on the day after Thanksgiving.
It was every boy and girl’s chance to see a picture come to life. To hold that truck, racecar, doll or stuffed animal in his or her hands and have the full assurance this was what Santa would bring on Christmas Eve.
I don’t need to see that stuff yet. This is too early.
A lot of things used to have a season. A date existed when new cars would be shown, usually in mid-September. Dealers brought new models out with great fanfare and mystery. I remember seeing the new Chevys, Fords or Chryslers enshrouded in a cloth cover until the day arrived when they would be on display for all to see.
Some dealers raised the cover over a wheel or portion of a fender. It was a part of the mystery of waiting on the great reveal.
Christmas was like that. Some stores with a Toyland put up paper to keep us from venturing into the land of Christmas toys too early. Some counted down the days with a window display. When you saw a newspaper ad that Toyland was about to open, your heart skipped a beat. You began talking with your buddies about what you wanted to see.
Now, there is no mystery. Halloween is over and the toys never stopped being on display.
We live in this instant, give-it-to-me-now world where we are not content to wait for anything. We have taken the suspense out of everything. Once, we took pictures of the holidays hoping a few of them would be good. Now, we have digital photographs and the suspense of opening that envelope at the drugstore is gone.
I don’t necessarily want to go back to the days of Super 8 movies and blurry pictures made with an Instamatic camera, but it seems convenience has taken a little of the excitement that made the holiday season wonderful.
But it was wonderful after we celebrated Thanksgiving. You remember Thanksgiving, that was the holiday that came after Halloween.
I fully realize what happens between now and the end of the year will decide whether some retailers will be back for another holiday season, whenever it begins.
But a little suspense might be the tonic to fuel a little holiday resurgence. Christmas is worth waiting for.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.