We're coming up on Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and soon after it is officially acceptable to put up your Christmas decorations. At least in our neighborhood.
I've noticed in my adult life that we, as an American society, have a few extra traditions regarding end of the year holidays. The rehashing of the "War on Christmas" where saying "Happy Holidays" is a sign of our moral decline and being inclusive is, for at least one season, Unamerican and Unchristian. And then the cries of "Foul" on early Christmas decorations. Anything earlier than Thanksgiving is decried on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and general life. I even saw a photo floating around of Nordstrom's sign declaring they will not deck their halls early (but it doesn't mean you shouldn't start shopping early).
However, I will not be complaining about these things. The winter holidays are great. Really great. They are built to remind us, in the bleakest part of the year, to be joyful. To be happy you're surviving winter and to hold people you love close. Even presents, that gateway to evil commercialism, is an excuse to really think about the people you love and try to understand what they enjoy. It's an excuse to work for something really pure: a happy smile. Holidays are great. Therefore I am happy to extend them.
Growing up, we celebrated Christmas for the whole 12 days. I loved celebrating from December 1 to January 6. After most New Year Resolutions end you still have Christmas. But even that is too short. I am all for extending before December 1 and keeping it going till February. Afterall, don't we always say that the charity, love, and goodwill shown at the holidays should be practiced year round? Well why not practice it with decorations too.
So this year I started watching Hallmark Christmas movies in November. I spent every night having my heart warmed by sticky sweet stories that ended well and always reminded you that family and love are paramount. I spent everyday reminded of magic in the world, either by miracle, a elf and sleigh, or pure goodwill. Every wreath, every decoration, every song about joy and birth, reminded me about my blessings and my ability to offer love to other people.
Now we are coming up on the day where we will eat in abundance. How lucky that we can do so. I have been cooking all week. (I made 22 pies.) I have braved the supermarkets. I have cleaned and cleaned. And because I am filled with the holiday spirit I have done it cheerfully. (Even with a toddler.)
I love the holidays and I love them long. All of them from Thanksgiving to Twelfth Night. From Chanukah to Yule. I say keep the love going until Valentines and then keep it going some more.