On Monday, October 29, I entered my community grocery store to buy a bag of coffee and a carton of milk, or, as I like to call the combination, Mama’s Medicine. In the front of the store, there was a display case that is always filled with seasonal merchandise. So imagine my surprise when I saw a store clerk removing all the Halloween candy and putting it into large plastic bins. I went into a panic.
Had all the Halloween candy been recalled? Did all the Halloween candy contain salmonella or listeria or razor blades or LSD or any of the things my mother had warned me could be found in Halloween candy?
Nope. The clerk was taking it down to make room for the Christmas candy, and it was two days before Halloween. If you don’t believe me, ask my friends. Not that they were there, mind you, but they’ve had to listen to me gripe about this FOR THE LAST TWO WEEKS!
It’s actually pretty common, this cutting short of things. By midday on Thanksgiving, many people will have left the table for the Christmas sales. Before we’ve rung in the New Year, we’ll be buying Valentine’s candy. And it’s not just the holidays.
How many times have you been to a public event that has been touted for weeks, only to see people leave before its conclusion? Maybe they’re leaving the parking lot a little more quickly, but the potential to miss something is huge. Think about this:
If you left the Boston College-University of Miami football game of 1984 to avoid traffic, you missed the Eagles’ Doug Flutie throwing what has become known as “The Pass” to win the game.
If you left Bruce Springsteen’s 2012 London concert early, you missed the finale with surprise guest Paul McCartney.
And not to give anything away, but if you have tickets to see“Hamilton” in Greenville and you leave before finding out what happens to Eliza in the last number, then you've wasted your $500.
Growing up, my family celebrated a lovely Christmas, but all traces of it were gone by New Year’s Eve. For a few years, I practiced that schedule as an adult, but the runup to the big day was so stressful that I sometimes felt like I had missed it.
It wasn’t until I decided to celebrate all 12 days of Christmas, from December 25 until January 6, that I discovered The Holiday Sweet Spot, that golden time where you can enjoy the tree and “It’s A Wonderful Life” and presents and cookies without the decorating, shopping, wrapping, and cooking. During those 12 days of the year, my husband, my daughter, and I spend more time talking, relaxing, and just "being" than we do the remaining 353.
In the Christian faith, that 12th day of Christmas is called Epiphany, and it recognizes the discovery of the Christ Child by the Magi. Thus, the word "epiphany" has been used to mean an illuminating discovery, the sudden understanding of a thing’s nature; a lightbulb moment, if you will.
When we rush through the joyous occasions of life and cut them short, we run the risk of missing an epiphany. And that would be nothing to celebrate.
Kim von Keller is a closed caption editor whose interests include literary fiction and global politics.