Succumbing to the early-Christmas syndrome


November 24, 1997|By Melinda Rice | Melinda Rice,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT'S BECOME the most prevalent of modern Christmas traditions -- griping about the season's commercialism and how it seems to start earlier every year.

In Annapolis, most stores already are decked out in their holiday duds. Go to Annapolis Mall -- fitted to the rafters with Christmas cheer -- and you'll hear early shoppers exclaiming over the premature nature of the decor.

"If they do this any earlier, we're going to have red and green instead of red, white and blue for the Fourth of July," said Bonita Ramsey, an Annapolis resident for 17 years who was shopping at the mall last week for a blouse to wear to work.

John Wagner of Deale, who was shopping for a birthday present for his grandson last week, said the Christmas music gets on his nerves.

"By the time you hear 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer' 14 times you're pretty much ready for the season to end," he said.

I succumbed to the prevailing ill will a bit myself this year -- so many presents to buy, so many plans to make.

Then I called my 6-year-old niece, who lives in another state, and asked her what she wanted for Christmas.

"I want you to visit," she said. Well, slap me silly and call me a Grinch.

Never mind that the child's initial heartwarming response was followed by a lengthy toy list that ended with, "Well, I guess I just want everything." By the time she finished her sentence, I had already left the chic ranks of Christmas season detractors and joined the very unhip, but much happier, group of people enjoying the season.

Think about it. You have to see pretty decorations, buy gifts and be bought for, plan to be with family (or plan not to, whichever makes you happier).

What's not to like? OK, besides that annoying rendition of "Jingle Bells" by a pack of barking dogs.

Lights on the Bay

Martha Johnson of Annapolis plans to get in the holiday mood by taking her three children -- Jonathan, 11, Karen, 9, and Bobby, 6 -- to see Lights on the Bay this week.

The Johnsons were among the more than 100,000 people who visited the display last year.

"The kids really loved it," Johnson said. "They've already asked me about it this year."

Lights on the Bay is a two-mile driving tour of 55 twinkling exhibits at Sandy Point State Park. It takes about 20 minutes and costs $12 per car. Proceeds go to the Anne Arundel Medical Center's pediatric unit, which opens in January.

Organizers plan to distribute coupons for $3 off the price of admission to students in public or private elementary schools and public middle schools.

The display is open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day until Jan. 4.

"I think that people are looking for a new holiday family event," said Vicki Fretwell, the show's coordinator.

Information: 410-260-3161.

Nautical parade

Forget the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you prefer a more nautical holiday experience, try the Kent Narrows Christmas Boat Parade at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The entry fee is $25, and proceeds go to the Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department.

Information: 410-827-8200 or 410-643-7200.

Pub Date: 11/24/97

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