Well, it’s October.
A lot happens in October: the World Series; several family birthdays, including two of my children’s; Halloween; football; and wonderful weather.
So of course, all I can think about is Christmas.
Every December 26th, I hate Christmas. I never want to have Christmas again. Truth be told, I kind of start hating it on December 25th. Not the Jesus’ birthday part—I love that. But the rest of it…. well, it’s exhausting.
Yes, the consumerism is problematic, but that’s the least of my problem.
You see, every September I start planning for Christmas. I don’t want to, but I know that to fulfill my role as creator of tradition, passer-down of history, and keeper of all things family, I have to. Despite my seemingly joyful preparation, I am full of dread. I can’t believe I’m about to go through the agony of planning, decorating, creating, and dragging out dusty boxes of clutter for my home.
But then October gets here. I unpack the pumpkins, the seven-foot inflatable Scooby Doo that my husband finally, after all these years, has come to appreciate, the scarecrows, and even some things that glow. Grabbing the decorations from the basement, I see stack upon stack of plastic bins labeled “Christmas.” I go to buy candy corn and chocolate, and mixed in among the jack-o-lantern Peeps, I see peppermint bark. Spiced cider. Pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING. And my heart and mind begin to race with joy.
Normal life goes on the back burner. Birthday prep and Halloween costumes become afterthoughts. I eyeball the house for clear places to put tacky knick-knacks and stuffed animals that sing Christmas lyrics to the tune of famous country songs. Advent is weeks away, but my own personal countdown has already begun. Is the corner clear enough for our 10-foot Christmas tree? Check. Is the wrapping station stocked with tape, scissors, and fine-point Sharpies? Check. Do we have enough money to lavish our kids with gifts and our family with buttery foods? Well, two out of three isn’t bad. My feet and back start to hurt just thinking of all the cooking I know is coming my way, but it’s a hurt I welcome.
For a while, anyway. Come December 20th, I will be emotionally overwrought, financially strapped, and more than slightly cranky. My to-do lists will transfer from desk-sized Post-Its to legal pads, and, at times, I will have to convince both the baby and the dog that the “Get Low” singing snowman is not a threat to their safety.
The shining light in all this (other than the exterior of our house, of course), will be the celebration of Advent and the final culmination on Christmas morning: the ceremonial candle lighting, opening another window every morning to count down the days, singing holidays hymns in the kitchen while night falls early and I relish in the love I know passerbys can see radiating through our open blinds.
It is beautiful.
With each pumpkin latte I know I shouldn’t be buying, I inhale the aroma of cinnamon and spice. The steam fills my heart, tingles my toes, and I know this smell means only one thing: it’s almost Christmas.