I hate this time of year

It starts with October being the month of Halloween.

The whole month we have increasing promotions of horror-themed films and products. Since I am not a fan of the horror and blood-and-gore genres, this leaves me cold but it is hard to avoid. I am also not a fan of dressing up in costumes, unless you are a child.

And then there is the deluge of pumpkin-flavored food products. I do not like pumpkin at the best of times and never eat it. The thought of pumpkin-flavored coffee and other edibles turns me off.

I’ll just have to suck it up and wait until the month is over.

But then we will enter the month of November which kicks off the Christmas shopping frenzy.

I should make it clear that I have no objections to these holidays themselves. What I find nauseating is the media seizing on them to generate saturation coverage, using the same trite techniques and cliches.

Wake me when it is January.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    My local dollar store is putting out Hallowe’en and Christmas stuff at the same time.

  2. mnb0 says

    Pumpkin (and it must be very ripe) is delicious when stirfried with salt-cured meat and lots of tomatoes. This is a Surinamese specialty. Even my late father, who disliked melons, pumpkins and similar stuff very much, had to admit this tasted pretty good.

    “I should make it clear …..”
    With me it worked the other way round when living in The Netherlands. The media nonsense and the advertisements have made me develop a dislike of the holidays themselves too. Fortunately lots of non-christians live in Suriname, so they are easy to avoid there.

  3. says

    Somewhere between halloween and christmas you’ve also got “we conned the natives day” AKA thanksgiving -- all of which blur into a technicolor yawn of crass commercialism.

  4. says

    For some people, Hallowe’en has positive, beneficial and non-commercial meanings.

    Goths view it as a big part of the culture -- the humour, the symbols, participating in events. What others see as darkness, we see as brightness. And for LGBTQIA people, Hallowe’en is the one day of the year where we aren’t constrained by “social norms”, when people can be their genuine selves without fear of judgement or harassment. Even if it’s only once a year, a release valve helps alleviate the pressure of living.

  5. garnetstar says

    Intransitive shows why the holidays themselves are actually good things. Along with what she says about Halloween, it’s good to just to have a winter festival, celebrate the end of the old year (it doesn’t have to be the birth of christ). And, it’s *really* a good idea to have a holiday where we’re supposed to be thankful for what we have (just try to ignore the genocidal origins of the tradition.) I’ve always thought that the idea of a day actually devoted to thankfulness was one of America’s most valuable contributions to world culture (that and jazz).

    It’s gorram advertisers and merchandisers getting in on the backs of these holidays and going way, way over the top, that makes my (and Mano’s) heads hurt.

  6. says

    garnetstar --

    Merci, or should I say Gracias.

    Many Goths are in love with this new song by Diablo Swing Orchestra, “Celebremos Lo Inevitable” (Celebrate The Inevitable), a song for Mexico’s Day Of The Dead on November 2. Having fun with events makes life worth living.

  7. jenorafeuer says

    Heh. Dennis Lee (the children’s poet behind ‘Alligator Pie’) did a book of (mostly) more grown-up poetry called The Difficulty of Living on Other Planets. The last piece in there is pretty much a ‘revenge on the commercialization of Christmas’ in poetic form. It manages to be silly, gruesome, and thought-provoking at the same time.

  8. Katydid says

    Mano, it’s not actually pumpkin-flavored things, it’s the spices used in pumpkin pie…any combination of / all of these: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cardamom. I had some pumpkin spice oatmeal once that was pretty darned good. And the traditional chai tea is basically black tea with “pumpkin spice”.

    Pumpkin can be delicious. I have a homemade keto pumpkin custard (aka “crustless pumpkin pie”) in the fridge right now that’s eggs, pumpkin, heavy cream, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice. It’s very nutritious--protein, fiber, beta carotene. It works as breakfast, snack, or dessert.

  9. captainjack says

    The next two months I’m just sliding down into the pit until the winter solstice. I start feeling better as soon as I see the days getting longer in January. Halloween can be a nice diversion. Thanksgiving usually isn’t much, even if I have people to have dinner with. Solstice is a personal observance more than a celebration and by the time Christmas/New Years comes I hardly notice.

  10. billseymour says

    I’m already looking forward to a time when I’ll no longer be presented with yet another rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock” and its ilk.

  11. Katydid says

    @11; why is it that current (1950s on) Christmas music always *so bad*? For every listen-able song, there are 20 that are just like fingernails on a blackboard. And they’re starting to play Christmas music in the grocery store and other stores around me. It’s unseasonably warm for October, and I’m in shorts and a t-shirt shopping for bread and milk, and having to hear really bad Christmas music…

  12. garnetstar says

    Katydid, you are so right!

    As far as I’m concerned, Christmas music hit its peak around 900 AD, with “Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel”, and it’s been pretty much downhill ever since.

  13. Mark Dowd says

    Christmas is the worst. Keep to your own damn month and stop shitting all over October and November! Leave them alone! And get off my lawn!

    The song talks about 12 days of Christmas, not 12 weeks.

  14. consciousness razor says

    What I’m getting out of the wiki page….

    The familiar tune called “Veni Emmanuel” was first linked with this hymn in 1851, when Thomas Helmore published it in the Hymnal Noted, paired with an early revision of Neale’s English translation of the text.

    Perhaps the text is much older, but the earliest surviving version is from the seventh edition of a set of hymns from 18th century Cologne. Depending on who you ask, you’d get a bunch of answers about when it was first written. I have no idea … maybe the 10th century, maybe not.

    Anyway, that’s not “Christmas music.” It’s a text.

    15th century France for the music (in an early form) — following the Requiem and before burial, not used for Advent.

    Then, England in 1851 for the text and music together, if that is what’s important to you.

    But that’s also not more modern arrangements that you may prefer (like I do), which contain other musical material too, not just the melody itself or vocals in (e.g.) four parts. Certainly, no actual performance or sound recording of it that you enjoy is from 1851.

  15. John Morales says


    I’ve always thought that the idea of a day actually devoted to thankfulness was one of America’s most valuable contributions to world culture (that and jazz).

    Well, from the perspective of a non-USAnian, first, it’s not a thing here.
    Second, best as I can tell from all the media I’ve consumed, it’s devoted to stuffing oneself with food.

  16. consciousness razor says

    Second, best as I can tell from all the media I’ve consumed, it’s devoted to stuffing oneself with food.

    For me, Thanksgiving is a chance to see my family, without all the religious trappings of Christmas or Easter, which are the only other “big” holidays when people can actually get together (usually, at least many of us can manage it). And I do feel thankful when it works out that we can see each other again.

    Those holidays do all involve elaborate family meals (in my case), but that’s kind of incidental as far as I’m concerned. Admittedly, the cooking part does take a fair amount of time and effort, but not so much the stuffing your face part.

    I think it’s definitely the best one out of the lot.

  17. garnetstar says

    CR, I mean, Reply Guy, @15, I do mean the one that monks used to sing around 900 AD, not the English version. It’s not just a “text”.

  18. garnetstar says

    @15, so eager to be a Reply Guy that you didn’t even read the beginning of the wiki article you quote:

    “The hymn has its origins over 1,200 years ago in monastic life *in the 8th or 9th century*. Seven days before Christmas Eve monasteries would *sing* the “O antiphons” in anticipation of Christmas Eve.”

  19. consciousness razor says

    But now you’re talking about different texts and different music, not the well-known song called “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” which of course is what I thought you meant. There is indeed a long story to tell about its various “origins” (traditions from which it derives, not how old the song itself actually is). The familiar Christmas tune published in 1851 is what absolutely everyone will think of when you say that title.

    If you wanted to talk about the O Antiphons or whatever instead, then great … that’s an interesting hot take, although I disagree with it. But that’s not what you actually chose to mention in #13 in reference to something from around 900 AD, so I was just hoping nobody would come away from it confused or misinformed by that.

  20. blf says

    One perhaps good thing about October… the “tradition” of re-re-re-…re-reading Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October (sadly, his last novel, but also, apparently, one of his own favourites). Usually done one-day-at-time, as the novel is structured like a diary, one chapter per day.

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