Like a sea-sweeping lighthouse beacon , the warning light is similar to Thanksgiving Day, sending out the alarm that unless you get thee to a mall, your Christmas will crash and burn.
When Christmas silver bells ring, you had better be tired out every night from fighting the Black Friday- hardened veterans of the shopping center, who will steal your parking spot from right in front of your Suzuki, and push you away from the last red sweater in large at Macy's.
Yesterday, remembered by all as "Cyber Monday," was a hoot lacking hot deals. But only then did the lusty lemmings of the cashier lines rest at home.
Today, they are back out there, dropping change in red kettles as they rush through the store door to grasp the few remaining discounted boots at Sears or the last of Penney's 50% off slippers.
I love the crowds. We have even talked of going to the Portland airport on the day before Thanksgiving just to laugh at the rushing people as we sip lattes in a cozy terminal coffee shop.
Our stocking stuffer outing we reserve for the last few days of the shopping year, when we can again take time to watch panicky hubbys buy red-wrapped boxes by the arm-full – no matter if the wife doesn't prefer the "Au du donkey" perfume inside.
Living on the Pacific Coast, shopping doesn't involve fighting snow, as I always did when I Christmas shopped in Michigan's chilling storms.
Fact is, I loved shopping in winter white when I was younger, and to be honest – although I don't miss shoveling or scrapping my windshield – Christmas shopping seems like it lacks something without the snowflakes.
Christmas, after all, is all about snow (reindeer, sleighs, chestnuts roasting and Frosty), and those who don't get blizzards are missing the essence of the most popular season of all. All those holiday ballads and cards depict the season in a wintry Victorian setting.
Folks in Hawaii and the Fuji Islands must have found a way to deal with the fact Bing's singing of "White Christmas" must have some mysterious deeper meaning.
Decorations are going up at a record pace (Jim, across the street, beat me this year!). On my night trip back from a shopping trip in Seattle last weekend, I counted seven billion LEDs a-blazing (and that what just on one house).
Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the sleigh, eight reindeer plus Rudolph, three busy elves, several plywood present boxes, two bears exchanging gifts, some plastic candy canes, Mr. and Mrs. Frosty, plus their kid, all lit by spotlights on stands and hidden behind bushes will become a reality on my front lawn this weekend.
Putting lights on the house will be a tad scary this year after my fall from the stool placing the black electric bat outside on Halloween this year, but I imagine I'll do the job as I have for 200 years now.
Otherwise, my vivacious wife would be mad and sad and I'd probably have to make my shopping stops at Tiffany's and Nordstrom's this year rather than the dollar store. Merry bell time to all, and to all, a good bargain.