Stores start Christmas season a few weeks early

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

It seems like every year stores begin decorating for Christmas a few weeks earlier.

I went to a mall in St. Louis three weeks before Halloween and was surprised to find giant red and green wreaths hanging from the ceilings and Santa's little helpers assembling his house in center court.

While children were running around trying to find the perfect costume for trick or treating, "Jingle Bells" was blaring from the loud speakers.

When it comes to Christmas decorations, I have always held to the idea that they should not be displayed until the day after Thanksgiving.

But I can't lie. I'm just as impatient as those elves when it comes to everything else.

I recently bought a bottle of cinnamon-scented air freshener. I had smelled a candle with the same scent in the store but wanted to know exactly what the air freshener smelled like.

So as I sat in the drive-thru line at a local filling station, I popped off the lid, aimed the bottle toward the back seat of my car and pressed down. Little did I know it was concentrated. The scent, although pleasant at first, quickly consumed every inch of my car causing my eyes to fill with tears.

The woman in the car behind me stared at me as if my hair was on fire as I shifted into park, flung myself across the car to open the passenger-side window and then to the back to open the two rear windows.

When I reached the drive-thru window, the woman inside crinkled her nose and looked around as if she were trying to find something. "It's cinnamon," I said shamefully.

"I thought I smelled something funny," she replied.

Driving to work I wondered if anyone would notice the scent that was almost assuredly stuck to my clothes and hair.

I quickly found the answer as I walked past one of my co-workers.

"You know," he said. "It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas everywhere you go."

That wasn't the first time my impatience got me into trouble.

When I lived in Tennessee last summer, I had a problem with bugs following me in the front door.

One day I went to the local hardware store and purchased some bug killer. The bottle said it would kill all kinds of bugs within minutes and pictured several types of beetles, flies and spiders.

I was so completely filled with joy at the thought of ridding my life of the scary creatures that I forgot to read the directions. Apparently I was supposed to mix one bottle of the liquid with two parts water.

When I got home I opened the bottle and started pouring the liquid all over my porch and door frame.

About halfway through I started to feel lightheaded, but I kept on despite the feeling.

When I was done dousing the exterior of my house with the liquid, I went inside to lie down, only I couldn't sleep because the smell was overwhelming.

That's when I decided to read the directions.

"Oops," I thought as I read the label.

The smell eventually faded away, and the next morning when I went out to go to work I found three or four insect carcasses on the porch. The headache and nausea, although probably a health hazard, were well worth it.

My lack of patience would probably be OK by itself, but coupled with my complete disregard for reading instructions makes it troublesome.

But even though I'll probably continue to bypass the directions, one thing is for sure: Unlike the malls, which will probably start having Santa Claus available for pictures the minute after the Easter Bunny leaves, I won't ever be so impatient as to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving.

Heather Kronmueller is a staff writer at the Southeast Missourian.

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