For another year as they have for centuries, the Holidays have now come and gone. As enjoyable as Christmas and New Years Eve are for some people, the whole Holiday thing seems to come to a rather abrupt end after New Year’s Day, leaving us with 2 1/2 months of Winter to deal with before the Spring Thaw arrives and it’s safe to leave the house again (although with December’s wild weather and last year’s snowfall in mid April, I don’t think I’d necessarily count on that just yet.) Sure there’s Valentine’s Day and Groundhog day thrown in there somewhere, but unless you consider the vague interpetation of rodent mumblings to be a reliable indicator of future weather conditions, there’s not much to celebrate there (and given my state of apparently perpetual singleness, I will just refrain from discussing Valentine’s Day at this time.)
As the Holiday season returns to its standard place off in the semi-distant future, the time comes to clear out its remnants. Back before Christmas I had actually intended to put together another kitsch roundup as I did with Valentine’s Day and Easter last year, but the combination of pixie dust and heavy snowfall occupied much of my time and ability to get around, so I wasn’t able to collect enough photos for the purpose. On the other hand, as the Christmas merchandise has gone on closeout all through the land, I have noted an odd trend in Christmas candy:
For some reason, it seems like the standard peppermint candy canes don’t seem to be cutting it anymore. This is nothing new, of course. Different flavored (and colored) candy canes have been showing up for years now, but this year it seems like there’s an awful lot of candy canes out there impersonating other candies (in flavor, at least.)
Moving back to the clearance table in the back of the store, we see Dum-Dum candy canes (wouldn’t that be considered an upgrade for those things?), Jelly Belly candy canes (in several different varieties,) Smarties candy canes, Jolly Rancher candy canes, Starburst candy canes, and probably at least a couple of others buried in this pile somewhere. Even the plain old peppermint candy canes can’t just be themselves in this mass of differentiation; They ended up getting Disneyized for no apparent reason other reason than to Disneyize them (apparently the Vast Kroger Empire licenses the Disney brand for no other reason than to plaster random Disney logos on a number of their house brand products, but that’s another post for another time that I might not ever get around to.) I don’t have pictures here, but I also noted at Target recently that they’re selling a number of other candy-branded candy canes, as well as a few types of soda-flavored candy canes. Anyone else happen to remember back in the day (oh, say, about five years ago) back when candy canes all tasted pretty much like candy canes? Me neither.
In the meantime, with the New Year’s Eve celebration now in the books as well, there’s the pesky problem of what to do with all the leftover champagne in the store. The easiest thing to to is to just mark the stuff down by $20 a bottle and call it good. That way you not only get the bargain-hunting wine snobs to come take the stuff off your hands (just make sure you don’t tell your friends that you got the stuff on sale, or who knows what they’d think of you?) You might even manage to rope in some people wanting to get an early jump on the meaningless “year to date savings” number at the bottom of their receipt. Somehow, I managed to get something like $200 in apparent savings last year, although the question is exactly how much money you’re supposed to be “saving” when most of that number comes from purchases that you probably wouldn’t be making if the item wasn’t on sale?
Of course, there’s one definite advantage to being a teetotaler here: it makes it a whole heck of a lot cheaper to celebrate New Year’s Day. Especially if you celebrate it the way that I did, and went to bed at 11:30pm last night (which, given my typical night owl sleep schedule, is rather unusual, to be honest. Regardless of how you celebrate it, a Happy New “Year to all, and here’s hoping that just maybe we might even have a sports team in Seattle that doesn’t lose an embarrassing number of games in 2009.