Silver bells ring in September | AspenTimes.com

Silver bells ring in September

Meredith L. Cohen

Radio City Music Hall’s annual “Christmas Spectacular” with the Rockettes opened for the season on schedule last week in New York City despite a musicians strike. However, I think it would have been more appropriate if the show’s producers had delayed the premiere until the labor dispute was resolved.I’m not taking sides, nor do I have an opinion on the work stoppage, but it just smacks me as odd to conjure up the Christmas spirit three days after Halloween in a city where it’s still sunny and hovering around 70 degrees.Clearly, though, there is no correlation between temperature and decking the halls. It was balmy and 64 degrees in Aspen this week as the city got into a festive mood by affixing Yuletide wares to lamp posts on Main Street. The City Market in El Jebel started rolling out its Christmas booty at the end of September. Anyone craving a chocolate Santa this weekend would be well-advised knowing Carl’s Pharmacy is fully stocked with all Noël confectioneries. And surely it’s just a matter of days before Burl Ives will be crooning on one of the networks in prime time as all of the other reindeer laugh and call Rudolph names.Of course, there’s nothing unusual about the timing of the start of the current holiday season, as Christmas always arrives early. Each year it almost seems to creep up just a little bit sooner than the previous year. No doubt someday the decorations will become a 12-month mainstay (which would be delightful, I’m sure, to those Christmas-only merchandise shops that somehow manage to stay open year round).But while most holidays are celebrated enthusiastically in the days, weeks and months leading up to the event, by the time the big day actually arrives, most people are sick of it and ready to move on. Particularly the retail industry. Before all the presents can be opened and ornaments taken off the tree, there are already advertisements touting after-Christmas sales. Father Time hasn’t rung in the New Year by the time the mattress warehouses and car dealerships begin honoring our nation’s dead presidents with special pricing on all Sealy, Simmons, Serta, Stearns & Foster and low financing on every symmetrical all-wheel drive vehicle in stock. (This would logically be the place where I should disparage Valentine’s Day, but I’m actually a charter member of the Cupid fan club. I thumb my nose at anyone who calls it a mere Hallmark holiday. Rather, we should all be sending thank-you cards to Hallmark for caring enough to devote an entire day to all things amour. In fact, I think we could turn it into a semiannual celebration. Why not make a Valentine’s Day II in September? What else does September have going for it? Once Labor Day hits, summer is effectively over, kids go back to school and there are no more excuses for slacking off at work. Clearly September could use a little love.)While the snow is still dumping, hints of spring are seen in the St. Patrick’s Day green hats and plastic leprechauns that overlap store shelves with yellow wicker Easter baskets, Cadbury Creme Eggs and pink marshmallow Peeps.Most florists prefer that sons and daughters have at least seven to nine weeks to decide which bouquet to send Mom on the second Sunday in May. The guilt of forgetting to send a card for the price of a mere 37-cent stamp outweighs the outrage experienced when realizing that the same flower arrangements are a fraction of the cost the Saturday before and the Monday after Mother’s Day. But is there anything more disheartening than a kid waiting weeks and weeks to see Fourth of July fireworks light up a warm summer night and then realizing that at the very same moment TV advertisements are peddling back-to-school supply sales and fall clothing specials? Like the holidays and Pamela Anderson’s breasts, the clothing industry has a tendency to get ahead of itself.Magazine stands are already overflowing with the December and January issues. Despite the fact that there’s still 39 days until the first official day of winter, the monthly glossies are loaded with multipage spreads of bikini-clad models boasting the latest trends for spring (or, as those fancy fashion editors like to call beachwear when the temperature drops and the icicles are still forming, “cruise wear”).Fortunately, last-minute shoppers like me are at a major advantage thanks to trigger-happy merchants. I’ll be flying home for Thanksgiving next week, munching on bargain basement priced Halloween candy and perusing next year’s magazine to choose the outfits that I’ll wear on the summer vacation that I’ll be affording because of all the money I will have saved by waiting until early December to buy the Christmas gifts that have been on sale since Columbus Day.Meredith Cohen would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2008. Questions or comments may be e-mailed to meredith_cohen@hotmail.com

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