Christmas Cheer Up

At times, I’ve certainly lamented the early arrival of Christmas on the retail scene. You see it in Costco in October when the Halloween costumes bump up against the lighted snowman lawn decorations. And I’m probably not alone in wondering if next year, “Back to School” and “Pre-Season Christmas” sales are going to run side-by-side in the same newspaper ads.

But in the last couple of days, I have started changing my mind about early-onset Christmas. I think the early arrival of all things Christmas should be embraced and relished ““ not bemoaned. If the decorations and music and other elements that are part of celebrating Christmas make me feel better, why not start enjoying them sooner ““ whether it is in a store or at home ““ even if it’s before the “official” holiday shopping season starts. And this year especially, a strong dose of holiday cheer”¦so what if it is ahead of the calendar”¦would really help counteract the prevailing economic gloom.

Why did I start to see this differently? It happened because our daughter, Jennifer, wanted to watch “A Christmas Story” DVD. Usually, that’s one of the movies that we save to watch during Winter Break, along with “A Bishop’s Wife” (the Cary Grant version), “Christmas Carol,” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” Once we’ve watched them they are packed up with the ornaments and decorations and stowed in the garage until next December.

So I was a little surprised when she asked if we could watch “A Christmas Story” now; she’s still eating her Halloween candy and we haven’t even gotten past Thanksgiving yet. But is there any rule that says just because it’s a “Christmas movie,” we can’t enjoy watching it in the middle of November?

Of course not, so we popped in the DVD last night. For Jennifer, watching it was a way of anticipating all the activities surrounding Christmas that she looks forward to so much. Things like getting the tree, unpacking the favorite ornaments, and decorating it. And then when the tree and the room are fully decked out in red and green, she loves lying under the glowing tree with a favorite book and basking in the holiday spirit.

I enjoyed “A Christmas Story” more than I ever have before because so often when we finally get around to watching it, the pre-Christmas shopping, baking, wrapping, and shipping have left me feeling burned out on the whole Christmas experience. But last night, it was easy to focus on the sweet story of a Christmas wish coming true.

In the past, it’s always seemed a little strange to me that around the first of November, Steve asks me to get out the Christmas CDs. In my rigid thinking, I’ve thought that the window between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is the only appropriate time for listening to “Carol of the Bells.” But now I get it. Christmas music lifts his spirits and he wants to extend that feeling for as long as possible without overdoing it to the point that it’s not special anymore.

But that makes me wonder, is there any point to putting limitations on little things that make a person feel good? There’s no law against playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving and after New Years. What would be wrong with listening to Christmas music in March? Ok, so it would be strange to have Dean Martin singing “Let It Snow” in July, but “Joy to the World””¦that’s a message of Good News that would be uplifting 365 days a year. I might give that a try.

Even though I love having a Christmas tree, I don’t plan to have it up year-round. I’m talking about being happier, not crazier. But I’m with Jennifer…why wait to enjoy the things I like about the Christmas season? Bring on the eggnog and when does Costco get their shipment of trees?



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