... I have hardly tasted summer
It is July 25. I have not yet welcomed the summer season by turning on my air conditioner. Fresh blueberries, strawberries and watermelon are stored in my refrigerator. Tee shirts and Birkenstocks are the mainstays of my wardrobe. I open the mailbox to check my daily correspondence. And what do I find. A Christmas catalog! Three hundred eighty-eight pages of full color pictures of winter and Christmas, so thick that it has a perfect binding rather than staples. I cannot believe my eyes.
My emotion of the moment is anger. Why would a company assume that I wished to think of Christmas shopping in the middle of summer? Why don’t I just throw the whole book away without opening the slick cover? Am I so curious to discover what is being offered for Christmas 2009 that I cannot resist a peek? Am I actually falling for their marketing strategy – thoughts of Christmas five months early?
In the interest of research and to save each reader the effort of browsing the entire catalog, I would like to highlight a few things that caught my eye. For the New England Patriots fan on your list, there is a choice of NFL licensed items: a digital clock, calculator, stapler and ten-by-eight valet for the desk top; a neon wall clock; frosted pint glasses and a sawed-off helmet snack bowl for party time; a gnome and pathway lights for the garden; a canvas tote and wallet or checkbook cover; men’s socks; Mr. Potato Head with Patriot accessories; a heavy weight plush throw; a musical lighted snowman ornament and a plush snowman family dressed appropriately; a white autographed team football and inclusion in the NFL sports card boxed set. Whew! The Boston Red Sox fan only gets a limited choice: a crystal baseball engraved with the logo, a 144-page history book, a commemorative plaque of Fenway Park and a boxed set of Christmas cards showing the “o” in “JOY” as a baseball with the pair-of-sox logo.
The catalog is liberally sprinkled with Disney products for the kids. It also offers a snowman in every possible form for your decorating pleasure. I personally like to use snowmen because they can hang around the house until the end of February. Since the previous sentence shows a lightening of my mood, I shall describe a few items I will not now or ever be purchasing for anyone.
The first is a forty-eight ounce drink dispenser that a person can hide in a golf bag. The pump looks just like the head of a golf club so cooling drinks can be dispensed around the course. Forty-eight ounces of your favorite cocktail could have you hitting wide of the mark by the eighteenth hole, but the course ranger will see no evidence of liquor in your equipment unless the ranger reads this catalog.
Many years ago I picked up a book by Jean Shepherd titled In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. One chapter ended up as the much beloved movie A Christmas Story about the boy who wants an air rifle. During the story his dad wins a distinctive lamp looking like a shapely leg in a fishnet stocking. For your shopping pleasure, the Christmas Story leg light is offered as a twenty-inch lamp, a night light for the guest bedroom or a string of twelve lights to brighten the family tree.
In closing I offer you the ultimate in holiday distraction – the “computer monitor lighted garland”. Picture a fifty-eight inch garland of greenery trimmed with red velvet bows, gold bells and red balls framing your monitor as you try to edit your piece of writing, take care of your finances or communicate with your friends. And when you plug it into a USB port, eighteen red lights will begin to glow. To my mind this decoration will hinder all accuracy hoped for in the holiday season.
I have now given the Christmas 2009 catalog more attention than it deserves. My anger has turned to fun and I shall put shopping out of mind until Thanksgiving. I will enjoy the rest of summer and autumn in New England, my favorite season.
August 7, 2009