It’s St Patrick’s Day today, in England you might be having a pint of Guinness to get in the spirit of things if you aren’t Irish and maybe going down the pub with your mates if you are.
In America it is another of those holidays that requires theming, and possibly a parade (certainly in Chicago and Boston) and some reference through clothing, colored foods and probably napkins, oh and a door wreath o flag, or both. In America, door wreaths are not just for Christmas.
Americans and especially American retail outfits are obsessed with holiday theming and what’s more, the holiday will not even be over before the next theme is on sale and the old theme discounted.
So Halloween appears in September, and huge swathes of clothes, decorations, table wear and home decor all give way to turkey themed items in October and Christmas decorations appear in November and are discounted by December, when Super Bowl and Valentine’s appear, which in turn gives way to St Patrick’s Day and Easter sometime in February, which are barely over when July 4th shows its red, white and blue face.
As some one who had always shopped for Christmas decorations in January to stock up for the next year, this pre-discounting has worked out fabulously for me. I was able to replace my stock of Halloween gear with discounted Halloween decorations before Halloween, simply by waiting until mid October and likewise bought my Christmas tree half off, long before I need to put it up on December 24th.
And when I say retailers are obsessed, I really mean it: In the UK any valentine display usually consists of a few cards of dubious amusement value and some chocolates, bunged by the tills, where the blokes can’t miss them. (Except for maybe some of the posher supermarkets who are now devoting nearly an aisle to the displays.) On the day itself ( and also Mother’s Day) garages will buy in sad looking bouquets of carnations for those “oh shit, it’s today??? ” moments. Here in the US, Walmart had four aisle’s of stuffed animals, (some not far off life size) racks of valentine themed nightwear, an entire aisle of chocolate gifts, divided by recipient: wife, teacher, mum, sister (don’t ask!), best friend etc. Also you have the combo presents – mug, chocolate and stuffed animal, and even drink holders.
Incase you are wondering, JT and I, took the permanent and far cheaper ,decision sometime ago that we show our love daily and not annually, bought tasteful cards and resisted the urge to spend $50 on a giant bear as proof our love.
The latest display, already discounted please note, consists of a variety of shamrock themed items, green glittery hats, t-shirts saying “kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirts saying “Kiss me and I’ll punch you” and bizarrely, green horse masks, for which I can find no explanation in either Catholic or Irish mythology. I assume the bats are for beating off admirers who don’t take note of the t-shirt. McDonalds will be adding green coloring to their beverages, it having apparently escaped their notice that there is a whole food group that is already largely green, called vegetables.
Meantime I am already being bombarded with brochures to redecorate my house with easter cushions and egg wreaths. Although personally, I am holding out for the item in this last picture that I found in the Easter, discount section last year, because nothing says fertility festival or the rebirth of Christ (depending on your belief system) like a neon-haired monkey pooping easter eggs.
Holiday Inn is the truly wonderful 1942 Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire movie, that first show cased the song White Christmas. a singer, a dancer, a love triangle and an inn that only opens on holidays. Magical!