November 30th is always a marker of sorts for me. This last day of November is the dividing line between fall and winter, Thanksgiving and Christmas and “late in the year” vs. “the end of the year.” Today I am still displaying my fall mums, fall leaves garland, acorn potpourri and pumpkins outside the door. Tomorrow, those will be taken down and replaced with poinsettias, pine garland, pine cone potpourri and a wreath on the door. This weekend, we’ll add in the tree and have our house resplendent with Christmas cheer.
I’m pretty militant about keeping the dividing line, though, and not because I don’t like Christmas. Quite the opposite, in fact. Most people who know me well might even describe me as a little fanatical about Christmas. Yet, I avoid shopping from the end of October through November so I don’t have to expose myself, prematurely, to Christmas music, decorations and cheesy dancing Santa Clauses. “Black Friday” is about as appealing to me as the Black Plague. You couldn’t pay me to wedge my claustrophobic self in between all those people clamoring for merchandise and standing in lines as long as a grocery aisle. Even though we own all of the kids’ Christmas “classics” on DVD and VHS, my kids are only allowed to watch them in December.
I toe this line precisely because Christmas is very important to me, but so is Thanksgiving. Here we have this simple holiday (Thanksgiving) that is all about counting your blessings, expressing appreciation and sharing a meal and time with loved ones. Each year Thanksgiving seems more and more dwarfed by Christmas. We need to give “thanks” its due.
Also, if a holiday goes on for 2+ months, it seems to take some of the “specialness” away from it. If the kids can watch The Grinch any old day, then what’s so special about watching it around Christmastime? (Remember when we used to have to wait a WHOLE YEAR for the ONE DAY it would play on ABC primetime?) If you’ve been seeing Christmas lights and Christmas trees in every retail store for a month, (kudos to Nordstrom for boycotting Christmas creep) where’s the thrill in seeing them still decked out in December? Frankly, Bing Crosby begins to grate on me a bit as the month of December winds down, so I dare not start indulging in him in November. And let’s face it, even in Colorado, it doesn’t look anything like Christmas at the end of October.
For the sake of preserving the sanctity of both holidays, I will continue to sit vigil over that divide.
P.S. No, I have not forgotten that yesterday’s post was about my kids’ Christmas lists and that these were obviously compiled in November. I wouldn’t have succumbed, but what else do you do when your mother is practically holding you at gunpoint for Christmas ideas? (Hi, Mom!)