HOLINGER: Out with orange, in with red, white and green!

Oh, how I was getting sick of orange! Starting in August, stores exploded with orange flowers, orange towels, orange candy, orange coffee, orange costumes, orange cups, orange oranges.

Orange hung around for two and a half months.

Then, last week, I walked into Geneva’s Fresh Market where aisles and shelves two days previously had been draped in a cornucopia of fall, only to be swept away by RED, WHITE and GREEN, the merry and bright standard bearers of … Christmas.

Where’s the orange? I thought.

Gone. Kaput. Ironically, disappearing before the most orange holiday of all, Thanksgiving, when tables are laid with discarded candy corn; with pumpkins whose faces sag leathery and loose; with arrangements of carroty roses, ginger alstroemeria and bronze chrysanthemums.

Sacrilege or relief?

Last night my wife, Tia, said she’d wanted to buy a Christmas-related item, but the store did not have it. “It’s already the middle of November,” she told me as if I were calendar challenged.

Knowing the safest response to my bride of 42 years when she expresses an opinion is to express the exact same opinion, this time I demurred. Oh, not verbally, but by answering with a noncommittal, “Mmmm.”

Because, frankly, Christmas before Thanksgiving looks a little greedy. Yes, I know, with the supply chain moving slowly as our dog doing her business in 32-degree weather, Santa and Mrs. Claus are supposed to shop early. But can’t we have a few moments to focus on the “thanks” in Thanksgiving before Christmas’ commercialism invades our consciousness?

Maybe we should move Turkey Day up a couple of weeks, leaving more time and allowing less guilt for launching Santa Day – like the Canadians, feasting on traditional turkey and harvest trimmings the second Monday of October. In fact, history records their first Thanksgiving was celebrated “during the 1579 voyage of Martin Frobisher from England, in search of the Northwest Passage. However, the expedition was plagued by ice and freak storms. Mayster Wolfall, their minister, made unto them a godly sermon, exhorting them especially to be thankful to God for their strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places.” (Wikipedia).

Hmm. Frobisher’s catastrophes make the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving sound safe as a picnic in Wheeler Park. Not that Plymouth Plantation had it easy; half of the 102 original Mayflower Pilgrims died over their first winter in the New World.

Unlike Frobisher, however, William Bradford escaped starvation thanks to the local Wampanoag tribe who helped maintain “a hearty supply of food to sustain them through the next winter” ( Moreover, the first Thanksgiving feast “most likely happened sometime between September and November of 1621″ (

Hear that?! September! Heck, we can slip in the Grossly-enlarged Stomach Filling Exercise before Labor Day, giving us only Halloween to slow us down from decking out fake fir trees with fake snow surrounded by fake presents!

If we could merge Halloween with Labor Day, trick-or-treating in 90-degree sun would shine over slipping through gusty sheets of sleet when parading in the dark around what seems like an infinite number of blocks.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and thanks particularly to you who feast your eyes on this column every other week. I try to serve up a fulfilling meal – lots of protein, some veggies, a side salad and a few tasty carbs to make it all palatable. Eat hearty.

• Rick Holinger’s book of poetry, “North of Crivitz,” and his collection of humorous essays about life in the Fox Valley, “Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences,” are available through local bookstores, Amazon, or Contact him at