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Goodbye state fair, hello Christmas?

Published: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 11:06 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 2:40 p.m. CDT

To say my girlfriend is a fan of Christmas would be a slight understatement. Following last year’s holiday season, our Christmas tree stood decorated until April — long after the final frost had melted from the windowpane.

The day we took it down was warm and balmy. To celebrate the end of what she considers the Christmas season, we took a trip to Gray’s Lake beach in Des Moines after we boxed the artificial spruce and put it in the closet. At our house there are three seasons: Springtime, the Iowa State Fair and Christmas.

As the ISF drew to a close this year, my girlfriend came home last weekend with the glorious news that the seasonal Halloween Express store near Valley West Mall had already posted its sign, and spooky decor of all kinds were being unloaded from supply trucks to haunt the shelves for 2.5 months. For those unaware of how the calender truly works, Halloween is a sub-season of Christmas time.

For all our enthusiasm surrounding the holiday season to come, we cannot wish the remainder of our summer away. Some department stores use people’s love and excitement for year-end religious or secular celebrations to mask their haste to display the new holiday merchandise in a scheme to increase their fourth-quarter profits.

It has become a Hallmark Christmas movie mantra not to let the commercialization of the holiday season get in the way of the true meanings of celebrations observed during the upcoming months.

For Shi’a Muslims, the holiday season brings Hijra — the New Year —and Ashura — the day of mourning for Husay ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. For Sikh’s, the holiday season is a day of mourning remembering the 1675 execution of their ninth guru, Tegh Bahadur. For followers of Judaism, Hanukkah — the festival of lights commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem — is widely observed. For Christians around the world, the holiday season is a time to worship and pray for the birth of their savior, Jesus of Nazareth.

I’ve already seen signs of the holidays popping up in the shopping malls and the major TV networks. Stores are clearing out their summer inventories. An employee at the Jordan Creek Town Center Younkers was inventorying holiday wreaths and trees near the back room as I shopped two weeks ago. ABC Family just aired a 24-hour Christmas movie marathon as to say, “Don’t forget about our 25 Days of Christmas series just around the corner.”

The coming months are a great time to listen to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, drink a warm cup of peppermint mocha and decorate the tree. But don’t forget about the true meaning of the season. Help a neighbor take pride in their home and assist in stringing a line of lights outside, buy a toy for the tots and wish a member of another faith a happy holiday for the celebration that is important to them. As the summer ends and we look to the final stretch of 2014, let’s make this holiday season meaningful for all.

Contact Staff Writer Mike Mendenhall at mmendenhall@newtondailynews.com.

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