Visions of sugar plums…in the fall?

Published 10:42 am Saturday, November 8, 2008

There’s a little snowman that sits on our business manager’s desk here at the News-Herald.

He stays out year round, but serves in his own capacity as the thermometer in the office.

Well, he’s more like our business manager’s thermometer. The little snowman’s legs grow when she’s feeling cold and they shrink when she feels warm.

A quick look at her desk always determines for me (and other co-workers) if it’s going to be a “It’s going to snow over in this corner” day or a “It’s hot as hell-o Pete in here” day.

I don’t mind looking at him from across the room; his goofy little smile, colorful scarf, ear muffs, mittens and boots and his black top hat affixed to his head.

As said before, the little snowman serves his purpose year round; he’s our office clown per say, even if he’s the proverbial symbol of winter/snow/all that is Christmas.

But then there are the decorations displayed obnoxiously everywhere before (and even after) their time. One of the most detestable times, I’m sorry to say, is that time we’re in now, the weeks leading to Christmas.

As sacred as Christmas is to Christians, I think we all can agree the holiday has become a commercial beast, rearing its ugly head and fangs months in advance.

Each year as the temperature grows colder and the skies get overcast, I quietly prepare myself for Christmas decoration overload.

I have a real pet peeve for seeing holiday decorations on display long before holiday actually arrives, particularly in stores.

It happens with Halloween and autumn harvest embellishments in August. And after that decor has worn out its stay on the shelves—hold on, because here comes the Christmas blitz.

I’m really not that uptight about it, but when I see Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving—it kind of gets me worked up.

Any routine visit to any store will tell you Christmas is within sight; the twinkling of the lights, the sparkling trimmings displayed on faux trees, even ones that have an odd Pepto-Bismol pink color to them.

Yuck, it makes me sick despite the holiday being approximately six weeks away.

Sure, six weeks is not really that long when you think about it in terms of the gift purchasing, wrapping, bows, trees, lights, tinsel, cooking and all the Christmas-related anxiety that will soon fill our lives.

Though I have to admit the gap between now and Christmas is closing as each day passes, it still bugs me that these festive decorations, especially the ones I saw in late September and early October.

And whatever happened to the celebration of Thanksgiving? Yeah, I’m referring to that speed bump between Halloween and Christmas. Whatever happened to displaying a cornucopia or a turkey?

As the commercial holiday season heats up, I’ll look at our business manager’s snowman, in all his fluctuating height glory, with patience keeping in mind what he represents to all of us in here. Yeah, I’ll grin and bear it.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.