The Mom Stop column: Christmas comes way early to our house this year

Lydia Seabol Avant
More Content Now
Wellington Daily News

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

*****

Fall is my favorite season, and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I’ve long loved the changing leaves and the crisper, cooler temperatures, the crunch of leaves underfoot and making everything from pumpkin pie to pumpkin cheesecake.

When my husband and I got married 14 years ago this month - yes, on a game day in the South - even our wedding was fall themed.

I’ve always been a kind of “respect the turkey” kind of person who secretly scoffed at friends or acquaintances who put up Christmas decorations the second that Halloween was over. Why skip ahead to Christmas when there is still so much fall to savor, another holiday to appreciate, with food and family to enjoy?

This year, I’m eating my words, along with my pumpkin pie.

My pre-2020 self would roll her eyes at the fact that not only did I put up a Christmas tree in early November - I actually started shopping for Christmas décor in early September.

When it was still 85 degrees out, without a colored leaf in sight, I was scouring the aisles of Hobby Lobby looking at garland and flocked Christmas trees. I was buying up champagne-glittered faux leaf picks and crystal-encrusted ornaments before football season began.

I had scoured the internet for the right 4-inch wide wired ribbon for our new Christmas tree before I had even thought about what the kids might wear for Halloween. I started planning early, ridiculously early, how we would get our new, much larger, home, ready for the holidays.

Perhaps it was because I needed a distraction from the stress of the presidential campaigns and election. Maybe it was just because, with so much misery due to COVID and positive cases going up rapidly across the U.S. and in Europe, I wanted something happy to look forward to. And more than likely, it was just because I’m ready for 2020 to be over, like most everyone else.

It’s true that 2020 is unlike any other year. Even when it comes to my holiday decorating.

A neighbor joked that our home currently has a holiday identity crisis, with fall and Thanksgiving décor in the foyer and dining room, but the Christmas tree is up and decorated in the back of the house. But what harm does putting out a Christmas tree or lighted garland a little early do? Nothing, if it makes you happy.

The holidays this year will prove to be difficult for a lot of families, with the unemployment rate still high and Thanksgiving or even Christmas get togethers being canceled because of the risk of COVID.

We had hoped to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws and with extended family - a longstanding family tradition. However, because of the risk of COVID and the number of cases going up, those plans were recently scrapped. Hopefully, we’ll still see them, it will just be over Zoom instead.

I’ll still make sweet potato casserole, like I always do, along with multiple types of pie and I’ll serve a relish plate of olives, pickled okra and thick sweet pickles, just the way my grandmother used to.

I’ll still get up with my kids the morning of Thanksgiving to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while combing through the Black Friday sales papers - the way I always have.

But 2020 could be a year of new traditions, too. And for me, that may mean celebrating Thanksgiving while the rest of the house is decorated for Christmas. When 2020 has been as a hard of a year as it has, you have to find happiness where you can. And for me, that means eating my own words and enjoying the Christmas lights a little longer this season.

Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at lydia.seabolavant@tuscaloosanews.com.