Seasonal Affective Disorder, in a way

Here in there is a lot of, mostly-good-natured, grumbling regarding the heavy retail switch to the winter music and shopping pressure. Too much! they say. Too early! they say. Why can’t they wait until December? they ask.

Hah! in the they hit this level by 1 November.

But culturally speaking, Canada really does not want to be yammered at all the time. Canadian elections usually run about 6 weeks. Oh, sure, there is jockeying a few months in advance, if a party is waiting until the last minute to drop the writ that starts things. But the election does not happen on a firm schedule – the government might fall early, or the ruling party of the day may decide their chances are going to get worse later so better to strike early. Places with fixed schedules like the USA seem to be in election mode constantly; the presidency especially – the race begins at least two years before the vote, and often 6 years.

Getting back to the winter holidays, though, people here are genuinely disgruntled by the holiday creep. There was dismay expressed in the grocery stores when people saw that eggnog was already being stocked. None of them were buying it. “Oh, we only get that for parties, and we aren’t having those yet.” I wondered if the eggnog being stocked has a shelf life long enough to get through the entire season, or if they would be restocking as things move along into the party period.

The music is what really gets peoples’ goats. Most of them say they love holiday music, but are so over it by mid-November because of how stores over-play it. It is dinned into their ears for nearly an eighth of the year, every time they fuel up or dash in for morning coffee. A million variations of Winter Wonderland and Baby It’s Cold Outside, and a couple dozen other ‘classics’ of the season, does not actually make for a varied playlist. Not to mention that rather a few of them, when examined critically, espouse some pretty dated cultural views.

Nearly every culture in the world has important holidays at the summer and winter solstices; it is one of the earliest recognized events. So it is no wonder nearly every retail system is keen to capitalize on the season of bonhomme. Whether we like it or not.