Obituary for my Season Spirit

Photo courtesy of Andy Thomas at

This last Sunday morning, at 8:13 am, my Season Spirit passed away quietly in his sleep. He was twenty-seven days old.

We did everything we could for him. He was tucked chest-deep under The Holiday Aisle comforter I’d bought him which depicted Christmas trees and wintry homes. A random selection from Spotify category Autumn Road cooed at us from my laptop, which simultaneously played Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (on mute). I was chanting a list of fun autumn activities from

We tried everything, but by the time we got his pumpkin spice muffin to him, he was gone.

My Season Spirit was born in late October, when the daytime sky was brilliant blue and the evenings still conveyed a feeling arguably that of cozily creepy and not yet morbidly depressing. He was born on a Thursday before a long weekend, perhaps the most optimistic day of the week buffered by the boost of an extra day off. He was born after the leaves had just started changing, but before they lay around the city in soaked clumps. He was born while we prepared for the season’s first screening of Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin. I was donning my favorite roll-neck sweater, testing out a bourbon spiced flavored coffee, and gazing out the window at the leaves and baring trees, enjoying the season’s last reflection on the cycle of life that wouldn’t focus intensely upon my death.

Or maybe it was indigestion.

So ripe were the conditions that my Season Spirit just came out with a big smile on his face. Sort of like that thing that Craig T. Nelson pukes out in Poltergeist II, only it was wearing a scarf, a jauntily tilted newsboy cap, and he was humming the rhythm to Autumn Leaves. And now he’s gone.

I won’t lie, I was all in. Just like every year at this time. The crisp sweater and jacket weather, the one-two-three punch of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The upcoming traditional gastronomy schedule. The American pumpkin-based cuisine of October, the Czech goose in November, Czech duck, black beer, the American turkey, the sweets, American Christmas food.

My cultural intake was changed, I sought out scary stories and tales of adventure. I didn’t tell anyone. I eagerly gobbled up the holiday-themed episodes of my favorite sitcoms, but to mention them here would draw too much criticism. Vince Guaraldi’s autumn classics for Charlie Brown at Halloween and Thanksgiving were blocking out my colleagues’ voices in the office. This repertoire soon included his Christmas album. While bringing out the trash I lazily whistled a tune about a rambunctious northern-indigenous deer who had nasal gin blossoms and trouble fitting in. A neighbor squinted cockeyed at me. I instantly switched to a tune about a couple riding a sleigh through a snowy day that would probably end up in pneumonia and an early grave in the spring. My situation had not improved. In the line at the grocery store on Thursday afternoon Santa chocolates waved at us as an impulsive temptation. Burke said, “Santa already?” to which I whispered: “finally.”

I know it’s really taboo to do all of this, as it’s become a societal gaff to be overly excited for seasonal enjoyments. To do so is to risk being labelled “basic.” Not to mention the criminal offence of thinking about or mentioning Christmas before December 4th. Pile this on the other factors that slaughter enjoyment or content, seasonal or otherwise, out of adults. Constant work worries, niggling physical ailments, the asshole president, unhinged spiral towards the abyss of death, and it’s a miracle any of our Season Spirits last into November.

Still, for about twenty-six days my Season Spirit fought valiantly to stay with me. But he lost his brave fight this morning in the midst of a perfect storm of work emails, grumpy social media political “debate,” and the realization that the day would end at 4 pm in lieu of an endless intolerable night. Maybe it’s better. I’d hate for him to suffer through the “let’s take back ‘Merry Christmas'” campaign manufactured and launched by complete assholes.

Update: At 9:45 am, a serendipitous moment came when we happened to catch the new John Lewis Christmas commercial. Though the commercial didn’t seem to be about Christmas as much as making grown adults weep in the face of impossibly effective nostalgia, it was enough to stir the life of my Season Spirit, if just for a moment. There was a moan which sounded like an off-key in a Dave Brubeck song, so I quickly (and heroically) nurtured him with some honeyed words about the selfless plight of the Native Americans, suffering so that we may have a holiday season to enjoy.

And then we looked at paintings of Thomas Moran, Thomas Kinkaid, and Andy Thomas. We looked at each of Norman Rockwell’s autumnal Saturday Evening Post covers. Burke hurried off and made some spiced rum and curry (which I explained was seasonal because that’s what people in Asia ate during the holidays). Anyway, this was enough to perk him up to at least a blip on the old heart monitor.

So my Season Spirit is on life support. And I need to keep him going until the afternoon of December 22nd when I get on an airplane bound for Philadelphia and the land of familial Christmas nostalgia. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep him going with ugly sweaters, happy thoughts, and Facebook, where everyone has good fucking will towards all fucking men.

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