Back to school season is upon us. One would think that by 18, I’d be prepared for summer to end, but I’m not.
I think part of my problem is that I can never ease myself gently back into the idea of going to school– the concept is thrust on me by every television advertisements and store flyers the minute I leave school.
If I get out on June 25th, I can turn on my TV on the 26th and, yup, there they are – the first back-to-school ads.
I had barely finished putting my backpack in the cupboard for the summer when the TV ads started telling me to pull it out again and fill it with brand new school supplies.
Don’t get me wrong, school supply shopping has always been my favourite part of back to school season, but I don’t want to start thinking about it until a week before school starts. I want to sit back and enjoy my summer, not have it ripped out from under me in exchange for a two for one deal on pastel crayons.
Back to school shopping isn’t the only thing I’ve been feeling forced into lately: Halloween, Christmas, Chanukah, Valentine’s Day, Easter – they all seem to tumble into one another in immediate succession. I went to a dollar store the other day to pick up some supplies for university and what did I find? Evidently, I had missed back-to-school season and it was already Halloween.
Even more surprising was my experience at a big-box craft store last Halloween. It was three days before my favourite holiday and I was hosting a party. It seemed like a reasonable idea to go to the store, pick up some decorations, and properly ‘spookify’ the inside of my house. However, according to the craft store deities, Halloween was over.
The holiday had yet to occur, but the store was full of snowflakes and holly wreaths. One clerk informed me that winter décor moves in at the beginning of October and Halloween was pretty much over by mid-September.
Who knew? I hadn’t even gone trick-or-treating and the store was ready for Santa Claus. It’s a wonder the Great Pumpkin and Santa’s sleigh don’t have a mid-air collision.
I understand that stores and services need to start advertising early for specials and promotions related to holidays and seasons, but it seems to be getting ridiculous and may have gone a bit overboard. I want to enjoy the last month of summer without even dreaming of school. I want to savour my October and not stress about whether or not Halloween has been canceled by an advertising executive.
In my house, we have a rule – no mention of ‘BTS’ (back to school) until exactly one week before we have to go back.
We try to relax through the seasons and celebrate our holidays with the TV ads on mute – it’s August. It’s not quite time for school, and it is definitely not Halloween yet.
Defy the consumerism and enjoy your last few days of sunshine and freedom.
Marlowe Evans is a Thomas Haney
secondary graduate who writes about youth issues.