On why the holiday creep is cool, actually
Give me your decorative gourds, your dog costumes, your kitschy decor. Give me your inflatable Christmas displays next to the Halloween candy, and don’t wait a minute more. Give me an excuse to dress up and festoon the house. Give me the holidays and give me them now!
2017 was the year I first noticed people stopped complaining about the Christmas creep, which was a reliably curmudgeonly thing you could complain about on The Internet in days of yore. In that dark time of the early Trump presidency, we were eager to skip ahead, just this once. I distinctly recall going to Michael’s with my sister-in-law the day after Thanksgiving to buy supplies — faux frosted berries, feathered birds, tiny bells — to hot-glue into joyously garish wreaths at the dining-room table as soon as the dishes were cleared.
Fast-forward to this season, and it seems the concern with keeping the holidays contained to the weekend, or at very least the month in which they occur, has all but disappeared. By mid-September, when it was still in the 90s some days, the pumpkins popped up. The first event I saw with a costume required for entry was October 1. Even when I was peak Slutty Halloween (in college, of course), I never had my outfit on mid-month. Yet our first trick or treat, at Oatland Island Wildlife Preserve, was already on the books as of Friday. The real event is still two weekends away!
I’m cool with this. As mentioned in my last post, this summer, frankly, sucked. I’ve been daydreaming about my daughter’s Nutcracker Ballet-themed December birthday since July as an escape.
The holidays are enticing as a new-ish mom for a few reasons. For one, it gives you Things to Do. As a friend wisely said this weekend, if you don’t want to Do Things, don’t have kids. Between corn mazes and fall festivals, new recipes to try and crafts to make, you no longer have to stare down what another friend and I call the “wtf hours” of a Sunday afternoon — approximately between 2 and 5 p.m., when you’ve burned through all the toddler activities you can think of, and it’s too hot to be outdoors and too COVID-y to be in, so you start to consider things like hour-long baths or handing them a roll of tape to keep them amused.
For another, it’s a delicious time to decide who, as a family, we are going to be. What sort of traditions will we have? What decorations will we pull out of storage every year? What are the recipes we’ll make? The moments that will make up my daughter’s childhood lore are waiting to be created! No pressure!
Perhaps the most obvious signs of the ever-quickening calendar are the constant push notifications I receive that urge me to get my holiday shopping done early due to the mysteries of the supply chain. As Vox noted, part of the holiday creep is capitalism: The need to buy stuff to conjure the appropriate seasonal feelings.
Thanks, but no. The supply-chain scaries send me spinning in the other direction instead, toward rethinking the whole instant-gratification, overconsumption-fueled enterprise.
I want to fall somewhere between Pinterest-crazed domestic goddess and Amazon Prime. Because *cue Hallmark movie moment* the holiday spirit is already within you, you know?
And not to get super deep… but surely we’ve learned over the past two years that you better seize your chance to celebrate while you can.
So who’s ready to cue up the Christmas movies and bake some cookies with me? Let the holiday season begin!