When Halloween and Christmas Collide


Nothing beats walking into your local mega-mart the first of October—on a day when it’s 87 degrees out—and being accosted by the results of Halloween and Christmas throwing up all over each other. Never mind Halloween’s almost a month away, but can’t they at least wait till children break in their back-to-school shoes before being forced into choosing their Christmas stockings?

This time of year, massively confused holiday sections display everything from fiber-optic reindeer, to choirs of motion activated angels, to moronically huge, inflatable snow globes parked directly in front of cheesy cardboard Halloween backdrops of haunted houses, dastardly pumpkins, and chainsaw wielding murderers on the lookout for their next unsuspecting victim.

Call me crazy, but seeing piles of Christmas stuff out this early, joining forces with a plethora of Halloween paraphernalia—when it still seriously feels like beach weather—is just wrong. It’s also bizarre to see folks shuffling by in their flip flops with eclectic combinations of candy corn, fake Christmas wreaths, and sunblock filling their shopping carts.

The stores also supply everyone’s eardrums with a wide variety of confusing holiday music. While children peruse the costume aisles, trying to decide what to go as for trick-or-treat, “Jingle Bells” rings out to one and all. When their mothers find themselves lured into the Christmas card aisle, “Monster Mash” is drilled into their brains. No wonder so many people just say “Happy Holidays” these days; no one’s quite sure what’s being celebrated when.

I’m not really one to talk, though. There was once a Halloween night several years ago that I still feel really bad about. First just let me say that Christmas decorating takes weeks at our house, and I was just trying to get a good head start—the day before Halloween. At the time I saw nothing wrong with it, but my son Cameron, who was five at the time, was far from impressed to see a three-foot tall Santa lurking in the living room next to a huge light-up ghost. Not to mention the animated nutcrackers looming over the jack-o-lanterns, while “Silent Night” played softly in the background. The poor kid’s still not fully over it and will probably need therapy till he’s twenty-three.

From that moment on Cameron put his foot down, and made me swear I’d never, ever again start decorating for Christmas until November. I reluctantly agreed. I do admit it was kind of weird to see Saint Nick and the Ghost of Trick-or-Treat Present making awkward small talk with each other. Maybe they could’ve found a way to bond if they’d only gone shopping together in their local mega-mart in the beginning of October.

“When Halloween and Christmas Collide” is an excerpt taken from my book, Christmas Madness, Mayhem, & Mall Santas: Humorous Insights into the Holiday Season, available through Amazon and all major bookstores online.



The Christmas Family Newsletter Brag Fest


Vector Illustrator, be able to scale to any size without loss resolution.

Most of us have received them and they usually come to us from families we hardly know, who live far, far away. People whom we haven’t seen since Nixon was President. Even so, every year we become privy to all the intimate details of what purportedly happened in their highly exciting, award winning lives since their last Christmas brag fest. Of course, not all of the Christmas family newsletters we’ve received over the years resemble what I’m about to describe. Yet there’s been enough of them to wrap Christmas presents with until the year 2023.

These delightful documents are filled to overflowing with details I’m certain the well-meaning writers never meant to exaggerate, manipulate, or dare I say, even fabricate. Yet somewhere along the way, the writer who slaved away writing, and rewriting, the history of their family’s lives over the past twelve months decided maybe a little—or perhaps even a lot—of poetic license was perfectly acceptable. Then once the newsletter evolved over several drafts, it went from being what really took place, to an all-out Festive Family Fake Fest.

I doubt they don’t ever mean for it to get quite so out of hand. However, realizing their musings might be mundane at best, they wrap it all up nicely with expensive foil paper and an exquisite bow. They never once consider we’re on to what’s really inside their pompous package of self-praise.

For all those unsuspecting people who’ve never received one before, I believe that just as the word FRAGILE is written on a parcel containing breakable stuff, so should the words BRAG ALERT be boldly stamped on the outside of the envelope of most Christmas family newsletters.

Reading through one of these newsletters—which goes on for several pages—you become aware that not even every recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize combined could possibly accomplish, in their collective lifetimes, what these amazing families have done in the past year alone. Major achievement awards, badges of honor, photographs with world leaders, and thousands of well-deserved trophies must certainly cover the walls and mantels of their humble abodes.

Unbeknownst to whoever wrote it, instead of evoking envy, awe, and admiration, they end up producing smirks, sneers, and sometimes sympathy. Sympathy for the poor writer who spent so long putting together this fourteen-page pat on the back, because you know everyone else who reads it is going to be laughing just as hard as you are. One day the writer may go back over what they sent out, and if they happen to be in a far less stuck up state of mind than when they wrote it, they will inevitably die of embarrassment.

One thing I do admire about them—which the authors of these audacious annual autobiographies never planned for—is their creative usage of the English language. For example: “Martin was given the unanimous approval senior management to take his entrepreneurial skills to a whole new level, based on his dedication to the company.” Translation? The lazy bum got fired. Or better yet, this: “Garrett continues to excel in all his favorite upper-level high school courses, and displays great leadership qualities in his extracurricular activities.” Which translates into: the only course Garrett’s passing this semester is the Basket Weaving class given in the attic of the school, and he’s also the kingpin of a local gang.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a Daly Family Christmas Newsletter, but my creative writing skills would pale in comparison to the great works of art we’ve received throughout the years. So I think I’ll just stick to scribbling Merry Christmas inside the cards I buy in boxed sets from my local mega-mart, and leave it at that.

Taken from my book Christmas Madness, Mayhem, & Mall Santas: Humorous Insights into the Holiday Season.