Used to be The Holiday Season (its politically correct designation), started a few weeks out from December 25th. Nowadays we have to remind ourselves not to toss candy canes into kids’ Halloween sacks. Last year I confused A Living Nativity scene for trick-or-treaters and congratulated them on their nod to Judeo-Christian outerwear.

It’s a world gone mad.

But in spite of being reminded that It’s A Wonderful Life (debatable) and basking in the warm glow of Ralphie & his personal Christmas Story (a delightful movie whose chief demographic came into puberty during the Hoover administration), some folks find it hard to cope with all that endless joy. It’s all good, there’s just too much of it.

First, the candy corn disappears. It’s now relegated to an end cap in the dog food aisle, where it looks stale and faded; a ghost of its former self. (Note clever Halloween reference.) In its place rests boxes of chocolate truffles, causing us to ponder once again why exactly it is that people like chocolate truffles?

Overnight the local Oldies station transforms from playing pop hits from the 1980’s to Christmas music from the 1880’s, with the exception of “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” a song also used by SWAT teams attempting to drive armed felons out of hiding.

And the catalogues! They pour through mail slots like unexpected triplets. The other day I got one with the rather awkward headline, “Give Merry.” Except it didn’t actually read that way. The rry was obscured by a murky (albeit joyful) photograph, causing it to read, “Give Me.” Pretty funny, although for some creative director, there’s no joy in Mudville this Christmas.

Of course, there’s nothing like Christmas cookies. They make indelible memories (and type 2 diabetes) that will last a lifetime. The ones I especially like are the flourless cookies. I mean, why muddy the water with flour when you can just eat lumps of baked sugar straight from the oven? Last year I tried a candy recipe that was, essentially, pieces of candy with drizzled candy on top. Proof-positive there is a God.

So joy to the world (not nice to hoard), make a joyful noise (your kid’s Holiday pageant), joy ride (the mall’s open late) or almond joy ( much better than almond despair.) Just don’t over-joy.

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