Holiday realignment

posted by Jeff | Sunday, November 19, 2017, 6:21 PM | comments: 0

Growing up with distinct seasons and the various holidays that fall within them very much ingrains a routine on you. That was somewhat disrupted for me when we moved to the PNW, because the seasons there are less extreme. It doesn't usually get crazy hot in the summer, and you'll likely see a day or two of snow at most in the lower elevations. But then we moved to Central Florida, and you have three or four months of swamp-ass hotness and eight months of general fall-like weather. Well, fall-like if you consider highs in the upper 70's and cool nights to be fall-like. You only have to be here for a year or two before that's your normal.

But the shift is particularly interesting for us when you roll in the theme parks. Fall nights at Cedar Point, west of Cleveland, were a tradition that endured my entire adult life. Sometimes it would get down right chilly, into the 40's. So that was our Halloween season. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, it was more of the same, and we would generally see snow by Christmas, even if it didn't last. Now, our "fall" weather comes in November, and while Thanksgiving hasn't occurred yet, the theme parks are all-in on Christmas decorations and entertainment. While you might be inclined to blame this on the sad commercialization of Christmas, I don't think that's what's going on. The issue that the theme parks have is that not everyone is going to compress their Christmas visits into the three weeks around the actual holiday. (In fact, week of, it's too crowded to even bother with the place.) So as families spread out their travel plans, some of which occur around Thanksgiving, they literally flip a switch after Halloween and get dressed up for Christmas. Magic Kingdom is notorious for doing this all in one night.

We have fallen into a similar pattern. We're not decorating on November 1, but especially this year, with the move, there's little point in putting the stuff away when it doesn't even have a designated home yet. Diana started ramping up almost a week before Thanksgiving this time, and I'm pretty excited about it. We don't have a single photo hanging on the wall, but the garland lights are wrapped around the railings and the stockings are hung. We've got red and green lights on the front of the house. After years of artificial second-hand trees have started to show their age (and miles... about 6,000 of them), we splurged on a new one. There's nothing wrong with six or seven weeks of Christmas celebration.

I'm not alone. As I write this from the patio, I can see icicle lights two houses down behind us (the most hilarious kind of decoration in Florida), and around the corner they're putting up a giant inflatable Santa Mickey and Vegas-style chaser lights across the front of their house. We're still four days from Thanksgiving.

It really is the most wonderful time of year, even when you're not freezing your tits off in three feet of snow. I don't care what religion you choose to believe, because the joy around the birth of Christ is bigger than that. For a month or so, we can do our best to stop being assholes to each other, help others out, demand peace and hope for a better future. We can bust out the stack of movies we watch every year. We can make turkey. And if you live here, we can go to the beach. I like this version of Christmas.

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