Confession from a Christmas Purist: I Put the Tree Up Already
Every holiday has its season, right?
Once Valentine's Day passes, it's okay to start seeing stuff for St. Patrick's Day.
Once fall begins, it's all right to start preparing for Halloween.
And Christmas needs to wait its turn until after Thanksgiving.
I'll admit - those are the social constructs to which I've subscribed for my entire life, cringing all the while at the stores that put Halloween candy on the shelves in mid-summer and the establishments putting up 4th of July decorations before the weather even starts warming up in the spring.
I'm old enough to remember when there was no such thing as online shopping. I clearly recall all the stores being closed on Thanksgiving in preparation for throngs of holiday shoppers on Black Friday. Once Black Friday arrived, then and only then was it okay to start thinking about Christmas - listening to Christmas songs, baking Christmas treats, and putting up a Christmas tree.
In recent years, a lot of those traditions have begun to fade. Lots of stores are open on Thanksgiving Day, and many more start their holiday deals before Thanksgiving even gets here. Radio stations play Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and more and more people are putting their trees up early.
I steeled myself against putting up my Christmas tree before Thanksgiving for years. "I'm not going to be one of those people."
But this year felt different.
Christmas trees are meant to bring joy. What's the point of delaying joy simply until the 4th Thursday of November has passed? I can still be thankful during the Thanksgiving season and enjoy the joy of Christmas at the same time. The two emotions are not mutually exclusive of one another - as a matter of fact, I think they go hand-in-hand.
So this week, just days before Thanksgiving, up went the tree.
The lights are bright, the ornaments are colorful - walking into the room brings me a feeling of happiness. The world needs more happy, now more than ever.
Despite years of waiting until after Thanksgiving to put up my Christmas tree, I have no regrets about going early this year.
And I might even leave it up past January 1 for a change. We'll see how I feel then.