One Thanksgiving, when I was about eight years old, my brothers and I were watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the living room while my Mom and Dad were cooking in the kitchen. My brothers and I were enjoying the floats and the big character balloons up until the very end when the last float of the parade was Santa’s Sleigh. It pumped out Christmas music as dancers dressed liked elves pranced around the float and Santa waved from the top. I ran into the kitchen to tell my parents how crazy the parade was to have Santa, “Christmas is still another month away!”
Being a child, a month felt like such a long time and December was always the longest month. It now strikes me as funny that I was so annoyed with the Santa Clause float. I was just a kid and I wonder why the float didn’t excite me and put me in the holiday spirit.
As the years of my adulthood pass, I witness Christmas being egged on sooner and sooner by retailers. Just last month when BF and I were at the nearby mall, walking through Bloomingdale’s we saw a few workers pulling out elaborate Christmas decorations. I rolled my eyes a bit but held onto comments about how ridiculous it felt to see Christmas displays when Halloween was still a few weeks away.
Over the past few weeks it’s been hard not to notice all the sales the stores are advertizing. Good sales, at that. I thought they were just clearing out stock so they could bring in seasonal items to sell, at first, but most of the discounts I’ve seen have been for things people will be buying for Christmas gifts. Video games, tv’s, toys, winter clothes and accessories, appliances, and home goods. Is it true? Is the holiday season already upon us?
For some reason I am not feeling as annoyed with it this year as I have been in the past. Maybe it’s because I have a baby now and little kids make Christmas feel more exciting. Maybe I am just happier and less cynical than I have been in the past. Maybe I am just used to being told we should get in the spirit sooner than later and have finally been brainwashed.
Last night, while driving home through the city, I spotted a lit up and fully decorated Christmas tree in someone’s apartment. I did an out-loud chuckle and pointed it out to BF. Through the rest of the ride home we saw no less than a dozen homes lit up with Christmas lights. BF asked if I had Christmas lights we could put up this year. Ten minutes had passed before I noticed the excitement brewing inside of me about decorating the house this year. Maybe even early.
Then I thought about all the Christmas things we’ve already begun doing early. We started watching holiday movies last week. Natalie and I talked about restarting our “bake a million Christmas cookies” tradition again. I’ve been thinking about what gifts to buy. There have been talks about a tree. The 8-year-old version of myself wants to scream “What, are you crazy?!” The 35-year-old kid in me feels good to get excited about Christmas again.
For the past three years our Christmases have been very low-key. I was tight on a budget, I was depressed, in pain, and I certainly wasn’t in the spirit. I almost feel like I want to make up for all the missed laughter and fun moments this year. I think I will decorate early. I will play holiday music and continue watching happy movies. I’ll make a ridiculous amount of cookies and enjoy buying gifts. I look forward to seeing the stores decorated and I’ll see past the frowns on people’s faces and focus on the ones who are smiling. I’m excited to spend time with my family and loved ones this year and I’m going to make it my mission to get the older kids excited for Christmas again, too.