Each year, I can't help but notice that the Christmas season starts earlier and earlier. And while it's a little strange, yes, to see snow-laden trees in the aisles of Hobby Lobby while the August sun is still blazing outside, I can't help but notice that people get genuinely *angry* about this sort of thing.
"I absolutely cannot allow myself to put up my Christmas tree until the day *after* Thanksgiving," they say. "I like to celebrate *one* holiday at a time," they explain.
That's their valid opinion. But I feel just as strongly the opposite way that I want to say to them, "Bah Humbug. What's so wrong about blending holidays??"
There's a whole army of people out there who looove Christmas music and holiday movies...but only in their place, which is squarely between December 1st and before the stroke of midnight on December 25th.
I am not one of those people. I will tell you why.
1. I once had a (very nice, mind you) boyfriend who thought Christmas music was ridiculous. One of his arguments was, "If it's so great, why don't people listen to it year-round??" Um. Well. Ahem. The thing is, I might very well go bonkers if I had to listen to only "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" for a solid month. (Or "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" for even 10 seconds.) But I get great pleasure out of my well-chosen Christmas music and it would make me very sad indeed if I only got to listen to it for 25 days out of the 365.
A few years back, my most-played song sets were Mindy Smith's "My Holiday" (Precious!) and Lee Ann Womack's "The Season for Romance." Last year my new find was Dave Barnes' "Very Merry Christmas," which has some great original songs that I just love. I cannot lie...I started listening to it in August of this year and I'm not tired of it yet. My latest find of 2011 is Michael Buble's (very cleverly entitled!) "Christmas," which is full of the standards but somehow they still feel all brand new. It's lovely. (Except for "Santa Baby" - it's bad enough when girls sing it. It's even creepier when a guy does.)
I have long loved Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas" (and Leigh Ann Nash's version, too). Coldplay's "Christmas Lights" and anybody's version of "River" - I love those in kind of the same way. They're not your traditional Christmas songs, but they make me feel something...and not in a sappy "Christmas Shoes"-kinda-way.
Most of the Christmas music is magical. I am all for more magic, all throughout the year.
2. I see the magic in autumn. You KNOW I do. ;) But I've been celebrating autumn since before the first wisp of cool air. And as much as I love fall, the leaves are no longer pretty. The pumpkin topiary is looking kinda questionable. I've been making spiced things and drinking hot tea for months! So, I have some questions...
3. I want to know if Christmas shopping is "allowed" to happen before Thanksgiving. What's the status on this? Because if you've shopped any Saturday in Decembers before, you know that it's not a jolly time. I would much rather browse at my leisure throughout the year - and if I want to buy someone a Christmas teapot in September, I want to have choices.
Hobby Lobby, bring out the wrapping papers! Display the red and green tableware! Stock the shatterproof ornaments so I can start making the wreaths!
4. What about planning? Is one allowed to peruse blogs and magazines for holiday food or crafts before Thanksgiving is over? No? Well, you are going to have one cramped December. If you're on Pinterest (follow me!) you probably have a board (or boards) for Christmas/holiday crafts/parties/food. If you're actually going to *do* any of these things, it's best to get started in November. At least. Well, not the food - unless you're just making a list and checking it twice.
If you have these bright ideas to embroider some tea towels, hand paint some ornaments, and completely revamp your holiday color scheme, you might was well not start it until this coming January. It'll finally be done for Christmas 2012. Here's why:
5. Work parties, church parties, fondue "White Christmas" parties, volunteer work, holiday book club meetings, Christmas parades, family get-togethers...it's all fun, but it's so much stuff to do in less than a month! Yikes!
6. So much to do that you don't have much time to sit in front of your tree, fireplace blazing, drinking peppermint hot cocoa, and watching "Elf" for the 30th time with your beloved.
7. Seventhly, let's think about how we celebrate Thanksgiving. Yes, it takes a little planning and preparation for the feast on the actual day. But it's not like it's reinvented every year - we know our recipes and we can prepare them with our eyes closed. My other favorite Thanksgiving tradition has become expressing thankfulness during the month of November. I keep my little list, full of big things and little things, and funny things and serious things, published on Facebook. (I'll share my whole list here on Thanksgiving Day.) I also really enjoy reading other people's lists. It's a wonderful time to be thankful, but is being thankful (and expressing it) only to be confined to the month of November?? And December is just to be full of food and toys and fun and no thankfulness for our bounty of blessings? ("I like to celebrate one holiday at a time." Hmmm...)
8. Speaking of food, aren't there a lot of overlapping foods between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Turkey and/or ham? Dressing? Cranberry things? Mashed potatoes? Even pumpkin sometimes. The food is much the same. Overlapping holidays...see, you've been doing it for years!
9. Which brings me to a proposition for the United States government. Can we please move Thanksgiving up to, say, the second week in November? Two weeks after Halloween should be plenty of time to get ready for Turkey Day. I mean, I'm not asking for the 2nd Monday in October, which is the Canadian Thanksgiving. Why is theirs so early, by the way? I need to know. (Also, while I'm asking, can we please do away with Daylight Saving Time? The fact that it starts getting dark so early is extremely sad, every single year.)
10. And finally,theSpirit of Christmas...I want to feel it year-round! Not just smashed into a little box labeled "December." Amen.
My life is a work in progress, which is how I think God intended it to be. I love spending time with my husband Jeremy and am trying every day to be a good Christian wife. I am totally intrigued with cooking (especially baking) and enjoy feeding family and friends. I appreciate symmetry and design; correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation; and lovely harmonies in music. I feel more than kindly toward helpful people and strive to be one also. I adore laughing. I'm terribly glad I'm not colorblind. I like to be positive.