News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

January 3, 2012

LIZ CIANCONE: She’s all for spacing out those holidays

That swooshing sound you heard may not have been the wind. It was me! I was breathing a sigh of relief that the holidays are over until the next time.

I am really looking forward to the post-holiday doldrums and wish there was some way we could better space holidays through the calendar year. From now until Easter — on April 8 in 2012 — there won’t be much going on. Oh, there will be official three-day holidays on Presidents’ Day and on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. And, in cities with a large population of descendants of Irish immigrants there will be parades in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. But, it’s pretty much a coast until Easter and the next feeding frenzy.

I’ve decided that the problem with the holiday season is that it all happens in less than six weeks. Christmas decorations were appearing shortly after Labor Day, but only as a warning to save your shopping money for a splurge.

Halloween gets more than a nod these days. Lawns are decorated with blow-up plastic ghosts and pumpkins — I even saw a plastic hearse last year — and there are real pumpkins on porches and smashed on sidewalks. But it’s brief and we are hustled back to Christmas. Thanksgiving is all but lost while we are reminded to dig deep and fight for bargains on “Black Friday.” For those who don’t have sharp elbows, merchants were touting “Cyber Monday” for on-line shopping this year.

I fear the only way out of this crowded season of celebration is to move Thanksgiving. It won’t be popular. Years ago, Franklin Roosevelt decided to move Thanksgiving up a week to the third Thursday in November. The merchants were recovering from the Depression and FDR wanted to give them a longer Christmas sales season. The howls of protest may still be audible.

But, it makes sense. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day to be thankful for the largess of the harvest which provides food for the winter. The English still celebrate what they call a “harvest festival” much closer to the actual harvest than the late November of our celebration. English churches are decorated with the food and flowers of English gardens in September. It makes sense to me. It should make sense to merchants, too — a longer Christmas sale season and much less risky weather for travel to celebrate and feast with family and loved ones.

I finished ironing the Christmas table cloth and napkins and won’t even think about it again until Easter. Maybe then I’ll look for a plastic cloth decorated with eggs or bunnies. Or, maybe I’ll be ready to suck it up and have at it again.

Even if I am a sore head about too many holidays too close together, I’ll have three months to get over it.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star education reporter. Her column has appeared on this page for more than 25 years. Send e-mail to

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