The End of Anticipation

After driving past a house down the street which was already heavily decked out for Halloween, I was taken aback at how early this décor was on display. This may come as a surprise, given how our sense of time has become distorted during COVID, but we have made it to September already. 2020 has been, and continues to be, an extraordinary year.

The pandemic is creating a new way of life for most everyone, from remote work to remote learning, and the changes continue from there. As a result, our interactions with the public, businesses, and even with our families have changed. While some people are using this time to reset some habits, and maybe even pick up new hobbies, others are having trouble settling into a routine that presents new challenges daily.

Where does this leave us in the countdown to the holidays? Should we combine everything into one long celebration, or maybe just leave decorations in boxes and forget about it this year?  I, for one, am not giving up­ just yet.

This particular fall and winter may not be an opportune time to plan a trip, or prepare a large shared meal to enjoy with visiting family. In fact, some of us are struggling to get into the holiday mood at all—outside of maybe hiding under a makeshift ghost costume, which is really just part of our comfy at-home wardrobe. This lack of anticipation, and our growing desire for comfort and convenience, could change how we spend any upcoming holiday.

So, how do we keep moving, and what’s giving us that extra push towards what is normally a joyful time of year? That answer is complicated, and layers deep. Let’s dig in.

  • When it comes to retail, the entire consumer experience has changed, and will be different for the foreseeable future. As a self-admitted stress shopper, the endless scrolling for a deal online somehow does not replace the thrill of the hunt. Daily deliveries may give shopaholics such as me a slight boost in mood, but it isn’t the same as physically browsing. Part of that window-shopping experience is touching things—fabric and texture, reading labels, and comparing products. However,  maybe we can all use a break from holiday traffic, and the slow-moving checkout lines, which  are  two things that typically do not enhance the overall holiday spirit.
  • Craving those limited time seasonal flavors? Well, there’s no need to wait around for those to come out, either, now that companies have released the esteemed PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) flavor in mid-August. Just in case you were worried about missing traditional Thanksgiving food during the pandemic, Brach’s Turkey Dinner Candy Corn has you covered. The limited-edition candy collection features Thanksgiving-themed favorites including roasted turkey, green bean, stuffing, sweet potato pie, and cranberry sauce candy. Who needs to cook when you can open up a bag to enjoy during your weekly zoom meeting while wearing your comfy clothes? This also means that Halloween candy is no longer only for one day a year, and you don’t have to beg from a stranger to get it.
  • If you’re waiting on those big Hollywood blockbusters that hit the theaters just in time for the holidays, you won’t have to leave the comfort of your own couch. Many movie theaters are operating at such a limited capacity, it is forcing studios to directly release titles for at-home streaming. On the same subject, the number of cancelled concerts and live events is leading artists and entertainers to adapt, by creating live-at-home style performances, bringing viewers a more intimate style of entertainment. Besides, the best place to admire the Christmas tree is often from the couch.

All of these adaptations to our consuming habits, routines, and traditions could create a new type of anticipation around things we can’t stream, or get by mail in under two days. What can replace the instant gratification of a quick shopping trip?

Perhaps it is the simplicity in knowing we can still get most anything we need and want from home. So, go forth, and decorate your house now if you want, don’t skimp on what makes you happy in your current surroundings.

After all, who says life can’t be like a holiday every day? There are really no rules anymore, now that we live in our pajamas.