I put up our Christmas decorations five days before Thanksgiving.
And I don’t mean that I snuck one string of lights or a snowman mug out to get a taste for the season. Oh, no. We didn’t hold back. Nativity scene on the mantle, stockings hanging below. Icicle lights in the windows. Light-up reindeer and sleigh in the yard. Greenery on the banister to the upstairs.
And seven decorated trees throughout the house.
That may seem like a lot of tree, but it’s really quite reasonable. A big one in the living room for the family, small trees in bedrooms for each of the four family members, one on the screened porch (why not?) and of course my youngest daughter’s favorite baby doll gets her own tree. Obviously. I’ve got one more small tree lurking in the attic in case it’s needed somewhere in the house.
We don’t count the six small lighted trees in the front yard in the total – only trees with ornaments are official.
The usual, year-round artwork came down off the walls, replaced by an assortment of lovingly handmade masterpieces, from a counted cross stich nativity scene my mother made several decades ago wherein the principal characters are all snowmen, to a hilarious painting of an obese reindeer created by my youngest daughter when she was five.
I am usually a stickler for proper holiday protocols. One does not leap into Christmas mode until after Thanksgiving. Usually the day after Thanksgiving, to be precise. I’m a Black Friday decorator more than a Black Friday shopper. I’ve been known to get a bit self-righteous about the whole thing, looking askance at those who deck their halls or crank up the Christmas radio too early.
But that was then. This is 2020.
The question of whether it was appropriate to break out the Christmas spirit a little early this year sparked a lively debate within my extended family. My mom and her sisters wrote and published a Christmas book nearly 30 years ago, a sort of collective memoir of their childhood holiday memories, sprinkled with recipes and family lore. It’s a treasured tome in the family and it sets forth the edict in no uncertain terms: Thanksgiving is for turkey and for being grateful we’re not Pilgrims. Then comes Christmas.
My cousin steadfastly maintained that we must honor the tradition this year and not give into the temptations of early decorating. I disagreed. If there is joy to be had this year, you grab it with both hands and string some lights on it.
It seems that the universe may have sided with my cousin, however. Within hours of hanging the last ornament, I had spiked a fever and was feeling woozy. Naturally, I convinced myself I had COVID (I didn’t) and rushed to urgent care the next morning. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like having a Q-Tip jabbed into your sinuses.
But listen up, universe. I regret nothing!! Do you hear me?!? No regrets!!
My home is beautiful, my children were delighted, and my spirits are high. We have earned our tidings of comfort and joy this year and I am not willing to wait another second to claim them.