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Halloween kicks off fast track to chaotic holiday season 

'Four Kids and a Dog' by Elizabeth Bottiaux
Four Kids and a Dog’by Elizabeth Bottiaux

By Elizabeth Bottiaux

The holidays are upon us. Goblins, turkeys and a jolly old man are waiting to launch their annual extravaganzas. Although the weather remains blazing hot, summer has come to a screeching halt. Kids of all ages—from preschool to college—have resumed their studies. Time for phase two.

Happy Halloween. Or, maybe I should just go ahead and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Because, let’s face it, as soon as it’s Halloween, it’s already basically the big daddy of all holidays. The holidays all seem to happen at lightning speed. By the time Christmas is over, I’m out of breath, fanning myself with a Christmas card wondering what just hit me.

Halloween kicks off the mayhem innocently enough. Pumpkins are carved into jack-o-lanterns, skeletons with a glow in their dark eyes are propped up on our porches and eerie grey tomb stones stand tall, speared into our front lawns. Children play dress up for a night with all their neighborhood pals. They morph into witches, goblins, ninjas, princesses and every other disguise imaginable.

As they consume ridiculous amounts of normally outlawed sweets that sky rocket their blood sugar and drop kick their sanity, we plummet deeper into the excess. Before we can say, “Boo!” all the Halloween decorations are yanked down and packed away in bulging plastic bins for next year. One more minor obstacle on the road to the yuletide euphoria. Time to gobble ’til we wobble.

My favorite decorations are that of Thanksgiving. The thankful theme is one that I truly enjoy partaking in with family. We started a thankful tree tradition. Last year I purchased that overpriced little thankful tree from Pottery Barn Kids, the store with whom I have a love-hate relationship—love to shop there, hate the prices. On Thanksgiving, everyone writes something for which they’re thankful on a paper leaf, hangs it on the tree, and we read about each other’s thankfulness over turkey and cranberries during dinner.

Thanksgiving colors are relaxing and peaceful, like a Hawaiian sunset—tangerine oranges with blazing crimsons, beiges, browns and burlap galore with hints of gold. I’d happily leave all things Thanksgiving strategically placed throughout my home, all year long. That is, if it weren’t for you know what.

Whatever happened to Christmas being about the big JC, anyway? It’s turned into a colossal spectacle of greed, materialism and overconsumption. There are so many December hoops we’re required to jump through in order to reach the grand prize. Ho, ho … HELP!

Creating that December to remember is nothing short of self-inflicted torture. It’s truly insane, the amount of things we attempt to pack into one magical month. Besides the shopping, baking, caroling, churching and dragging the wee ones to sit on mall Santa’s lap, there’s the daunting decorating. The tree—real or fake? No matter, it all requires lots of work. The setup, the teardown. Dec. 26 is the day, and not one day later, we pull the plug on Christmas in our home. By that time, if I see another pine needle or sparkly bit of tinsel on the floor, I’ll simply explode.

On that note, happy holidays, to you and yours.

Elizabeth Bottiaux is mom to four small humans, ages 4, 6, 8 and 10. She’s a San Clemente resident and has lived in Orange County for the past 16 years. She publishes a blog,, about family life in our tri-city area.

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