Holiday shopping season never ends

There is less than a month left of summer break.

Back to school kiosks are popping up everywhere in stores. I guess that’s to be expected for August. But pretty soon, I won’t be able to go into any Costco without blinders until January.

Once August hits, summer has gone to the southeast wall, and they pull out all their glitzy Christmas stuff. Sorry, but I just can’t do Christmas six months out of every year — and especially listen to the music. And why anyone would want to is way beyond me. It effectively kills my Christmas spirit and by the time it actually is here, I’m plotting my quick take down.

Last year it was so bad, I didn’t even use all my decorations, or mail Christmas cards. Bah Humbug! It’s a struggle to find the joy anyway with all the pressure to make it a nice holiday for everyone.

The retail industry creates a shopping frenzy with every season. And when there isn’t a real holiday they make one up. Someone please explain exactly what “Presidents Weekend” is all about. And the sales pitch appears earlier and earlier before the real date. For example, we hadn’t even been out of school for three weeks, with the Fourth of July barely over, when the back-to-school signs went up.

There ought to be a law. A law that states it is illegal to sell holiday merchandise more than one month before the event. And never ever double duty — only one holiday at a time. That way, we could concentrate on the special day at hand and not feel frantic to get in on the sale — as if there will never be another one!

Here’s a novel idea: Have a holiday section in the back of the store year round — a store-within-a-store. If the overachievers in Federal Way want to shop earlier than the rest of us procrastinators, here’s their chance.

I personally can’t hoard more junk than I already do, or so my husband claims. Recovering Pack Rat Rule #1 states that said pack rat must repeat this mantra when swaying trance-like, skimming sales advertisements. “I have enough stuff. I have ENOUGH stuff. I have enough STUFF!”

Recovering Pack Rat Rule #2 advises to just walk away or avoid the stores altogether.

A few years ago, the Federal Way Goodwill Store had the right agenda — just say no. Perpetually clearing out the garage (always a work in progress), I took a load there only to be told “No Christmas donations allowed until the fall.”

In fact, as I was unloading, my box of new Christmas decorations was tossed into the dumpster. Feisty person that I am, I was flabbergasted. How could someone throw away something reusable? It goes against everything I believe in. I marched over and pulled it out. I’m not ashamed, because someone could use it somewhere. I just don’t want to think about it in the summer.

August is always bittersweet. It is impossible to completely ignore the back-to-school message. The classrooms are still clean and empty, but my teacher friends are reluctantly thinking about going back to prepare. It’s a new school year, a new group of kids and parents to deal with.

It’s scary on the parent end too — we want a good fit, a teacher matched up perfectly with our kids’ learning style. Come September we want to be ready, but today it’s still summer and it’s hot.

I’m only having one Christmas this year and it’s in December, not July. But look for me in the holiday aisles at Costco — I’m the one disgustedly turning off everything with lights, sound or movement. Happy shopping!

Federal Way resident Jan Hallahan, a writer and mom:

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