I like Christmas. I like it lots. I have happy childhood memories of Christmas, of my grandfather convincing us he had Santa’s phone number and that he appeared in “A Visit From St. Nicholas” with Santa (“You know where they say “Then he turned with a jerk? I’m the jerk!”). But I am also a stickler about when Christmas really starts to happen here.
Oh sure, I will buy certain things before It’s Time, because at the rate the stores push holiday items, you’re forced to buy now or miss out. Like Christmas lights. I bought them all early last year, as we needed lights that didn’t have funky Irish plugs. I felt a bit dumb buying them all early. But as soon as Thanksgiving hit, it was a free-for-all death match in the light section. This year, I bought wrapping paper already, in this pipe dream that I’ll actually start wrapping gifts before December 23rd.
But for the most part, I let Thanksgiving come first. I have my little turkeys out, I still have my pumpkins out front and about the house. I like Thanksgiving. I want it to be its own holiday. I don’t do Black Friday. I don’t listen to Christmas music early, or binge-watch Hallmark Channel for sappy holiday shows. I let the holidays come in order – after Thanksgiving, I’ll start the Christmas decoration (I used to wait until it was officially December…but if I actually want to decorate and enjoy it, I have to start earlier, or else I’ll barely get the tree up.)
All that said…
It turns out Maura is mad for Christmas.
She didn’t get things like birthdays and holidays for so long, but in the past few years, she understands it more and more. She adores Halloween – all the spooky and dress up and shows. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” – aka “Spooky” – became a daily viewing in September. Last year she watched Halloween cartoons well into the Christmas season.
This year? She’s embraced the American attitude of “Christmas can’t start too soon”. We’re already tired of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas. And then, during a trip to Target yesterday, she gasped when she saw the Christmas section. I’m pretty sure if she could have hauled a ten foot tree into the cart on her own, she would have. She also wanted the pack of 500 shiny red ornaments and all the lights possible.
Did I tell her it was too soon?
Did I try to explain how Thanksgiving comes first?
Did I tell her she could just look, but we weren’t buying anything?
Do I look like that big of a meanie?
I went into compromise mode. We don’t need 500 shiny red glass ornaments. I did point out the little package of tiny plastic shiny ornaments, which she found cool enough, and will fit on her little pink foil tree. We also picked out a Frozen ornament, and some twinkle lights (because in my world, twinkle lights know no season). I did talk her out of yet another little foil tree (she was all “Okay, so I have the pink one…fine…but there’s also a blue one…and a gold one…” No kid. You only get one little tree for your room.)
I totally caved at the 5-foot foil trees. She thought they were awesome. I can admit, when I saw them last year, I tried to figure out where we could put one, because I thought they were awesome too. A green one followed us home. Maura proudly hauled that box into the house, and insisted we set it up immediately. Then spent the rest of the day carting it about the house to set up in different locations as she took the roll of wrapping paper from last Christmas and pretended to wrap things. And then, she found her sister’s Christmas Sweater t-shirt from last year and put that on.
And so it begins, whether I like it or not. Because sometimes, when something makes your child that happy, you cave a little.
When the teens arrived home, one looked at the Christmas stuff and asked “What gives?”
I said “Maura.”
Yes, sometimes, when there’s a question, the only answer needed is “Maura.” All is understood.