Every time I stumble across a post on this topic, my body physically cringes. The articles and personal declarations come in all forms, but the sentiment is always the same – there are people out there that hate when someone starts celebrating Christmas “too early.”
It seems like for every one person who shares a Christmas related thought in October or November, there are an equal amount of people who want to virtually silence them. It is almost like a person’s love for Christmas needs to have boundaries.
Now, I can agree that stores are putting out Christmas merchandise earlier and earlier. It feels like sometimes we are just finishing up summer, and there are already shelves dedicated to Christmas. And coming from someone who loves this holiday, if I am in flip flops and a tank top, even I am surprised when a big chain has Christmas on the shelves.
However, I would also argue that these stores are only selling the items because people are buying. Large box stores and chains would not take up valuable shelf space for items that will sit for months and months on end. They have run the numbers – they know that people cannot resist buying decorations before December 1st.
For me, as you probably gathered, I am typically overjoyed at any sign of Christmas. I am filled with absolute happiness when I walk in a store and inhale the smell of cinnamon-scented pinecones and see the glittering sparkle of Christmas trees & decorations. My whole-body lights up and my brain screams…"It's time!"
There is a magical aspect of the Christmas spirit that captures something in so many people. We manage to find it in December, so why not add in that magic a to few more days, weeks, or months if you want to?
Christmas is about so much more than just gifts, decorations, and family gatherings. It's about a feeling and a time where many of us stop being so focused on our busy lives, and slow down to a pace that feels appropriate for this special time of year.
There are so many acts of kindness only done in December. For example, most people don't always donate toys to children in need and write letters to soldiers serving overseas, or leave bigger tips and send out sentimental cards with pictures of your family. These acts of kindness & thoughtfulness are all reserved for just ONE month a year – but why?
In December, we all suddenly become more giving & thoughtful just because of this one holiday. The Christmas Carol exists because there are a lot of Scrooges out there that only find the softening of their heart & soul during Christmas. There is even an entire Hallmark empire surrounded by the concept that a "hard-working single woman from the city finds love in her hometown during Christmas". Why can't she find love during the week of June 16th?
I believe it is because the holidays provide a backdrop of love, hope, and merriment that does not exist at any other time of the year. And personally, I would like to drag that feeling out for as long as I can.
Now I do know that the holidays can also be a source of pain for some, and I fully understand this myself. I have lost people I loved, and during the holidays that grief inevitably becomes a little stronger.
Yet, the time spent with those people are what makes me carry my love for the holidays even farther. Most of my warmest, fondest memories are with my family and friends around Christmas. So why wouldn't I want to continue that tradition with my children, and extend that merriment in to other times in the year.
In my house, we do it all. Christmas music is on as soon as Halloween ends, and Santa lists start soon after. Our Elf typically arrives mid-November, and gets the ball rolling. We then get our Christmas tree the weekend before Thanksgiving, and we decorate the front of our house immediately following. Then starting December 1st, we start our Christmas Adventure Calendar (which is my favorite family tradition).
We read books & watch movies by the Christmas tree, we bake cookies for the local police and fireman, we make homemade cards for family, we drive around looking at lights and we visit all the local holiday attractions. The time spent together is like no other, and our children absorb it like a sponge.
Can you think of another month where you do nearly as much with your kids?
So why not start celebrating early and bring that bliss into other months of the year. It doesn't take away from Thanksgiving, it only adds to it. You come into the Thanksgiving holiday filled with generosity, thoughtfulness, hope, and love. And, why wouldn't you want that at your family dinner table?
So, as we get closer and closer to putting those turkeys in the oven, remember that Christmas is with us all year long. And if you feel the need to celebrate the spirit of this magical holiday in April, August, or November, just do it…
I guarantee it can make your life just a little bit brighter.