I am struggling. Specifically, I am struggling with a dilemma that goes to the heart of one of my dearest convictions. And that is whether I just go ahead and start Christmas now, far ahead of Thanksgiving.
Once upon a time, I was a not-until-Thanksgiving purist, even going so far as to call for outright war against the encroaching forces of Christmas. How young I was! How young we all were! We’ve traveled a rough patch of road since 2014, I’m sorry to say, and in 2017, I personally threw down my weapons and encouraged everyone to start Christmas whenever they wanted, as early as late September even, if that made them happy.
Now I am at yet another personal crossroads: Do I go so far as to personally fully decorate at the beginning of November, overwriting Thanksgiving entirely?
The cons are numerous. Summer stayed late, so we’ve barely had any fall in the Northeast, and I personally love the early autumn of crisp, bright leaves. I got an October-ish pom-pom garland at Michaels after they’d put all the Halloween stuff on sale at 80 percent off, and I’m still enjoying it. I haven’t even put away my beautiful $10 factory-irregular ceramic jack-o-lantern yet! Am I just going to put away the jack-o-lantern and the spooky cat made out of purple tinsel and the mug covered in a vintage Halloween postcard at the same time as I set up my Christmas decorations? Which are, by the way, at the very back of a nightmarishly overstuffed closet, so this will require taking my life into my own hands.
On the other hand, Thanksgiving is so late this year that Christmas has been dramatically shortened, and I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy the over-the-top trappings of Christmas. That love has only grown since having a child on whose supposed behalf I can go absolutely overboard. I can justify anything now! Tinsel garlands, twinkle lights all over the house, small light-up trees, window clings, pajamas, novelty socks, mugs, music, baked goods, gingerbread coffee; really, I’m practically required to do this. Now I need a proper runway to enjoy all the wildly kitschy odds and ends I have assembled. Not to mention that—for reasons I will not enumerate but I’m confident you all can fill in on your own—I really need somewhere to put my rampaging anxiety, and Christmas is healthier than taking up cigarettes and logistically easier than getting into Crossfit. I mean, they started the Christmas movies on Hallmark and Lifetime a week before Halloween.
I find myself in unusual (for me, anyway) company in my desperate longing to go ahead and decorate: influencers, who pivoted from Halloween to holidays in absolutely record time this year. I know that this is driven by the short-term profit needs of massive, soulless corporations. Losing a week of Christmas means that businesses have lost a week of valuable time to hoover up your hard-earned money. Hence the gift guides have started, and shelves are already lined with Christmas displays. Normally, I might feel pressured by this financially motivated onslaught, but this year I am finding it simply convenient.
Ultimately, perhaps I will ease in. I have already begun wearing the novelty Santa slippers and run my new “Greetings from the North Pole” mug ($3.99 at Marshalls) through the dishwasher. Maybe I’ll cue up the best collection of seasonal music, Soul Christmas, but leave the Charlie Brown Christmas music alone for now.
I am going to go stock up on lights, though.