We know…we know…everyone is titling their stuff “back to school yada yada yada”…but here’s the thing—it’s been going on since June! We were stunned to see back to school ads in newspaper circulars just two weeks after most schools let out. Larger stores were offering specials on back to school clothing and school supplies in between the bathing suits, towels and pool floaties.
So, what’s the deal? Halloween sales begin in September, Christmas in October, Easter in January—what does this mean besides that stores are desperate to get your attention and sell before the competition? We notice that it affects our culture.
True story: At a friend’s house there was a discussion about what main course dish should be prepared for a particular event. This friend makes an amazing family recipe stew-like dish. We suggested it as a meal. We were rejected outright. Why? It wasn’t the right season for that recipe. Even if it were a chilly night, that dish is deemed an autumnal recipe only in their home–a house that is wedded to the calendar and its events and holidays. To our ears the rejection seemed arbitrary—and kind of annoying. Good food is good food, right? Who really cares when you make it or eat it…?
On second, third and fourth thought, however, we get it. Would chocolate bunnies hold the same allure mid-August? Would roasted pumpkin seeds make us ecstatic in May? Would fruitcake be a welcome hostess gift in October? Would latkes be as delicious in July? Well, maybe yes to the latkes—a fried potato by any name….
There is something to be said for respecting the calendar and the cycle it perpetuates. We won’t sell you any rulers, scissors or glue in June and we suggest you abstain from buying them. It may indeed even add to your quality of life. In our friend’s house, the excitement of a holiday-trussed-entrée is palpable. The scents and visuals cue a certain emotional response and bring on anticipation and pleasure in its resolution. In our homes, kids get to be off for the summer without being bound to their backpacks full of supplies and heavy books. They forget some of the burden of school and get to be excited by the new pencil smell and fresh white pages of a new notebook (do they still use those?).
So, here’s our quiet protest…we’ve held out until now…didn’t buy one school supply. Now the sales are even bolder and there’s still almost a month to go. We’ll take our kids in a week or two to get their supplies….perhaps they’ll have a few fewer folder covers to choose from, but they’ll hold on to their summer breezes a little longer, and perhaps our homes will enjoy summer’s more relaxed quality a bit longer as well.