Thanksgiving is coming. Which of course means that it’s been Christmastime for three weeks now.
Yes, Christmas is the magical period lasting from November 1 through January 6 in retail shops / apartments of certain pop culture website columnists. It’s a period where the denizens of mass produced home accouterments / certain snarky writer-types who enjoy British sci-fi programming and enthuse on Britney Spears play nothing but holiday music and prominently display sparkly bejeweled red and green items of decor.
For those of you unaware, Christmas begins the moment one removes one’s Halloween costume and continues until the tree is down, or Lite FM stops playing that really horrendous Aaron Neville version of Little Drummer Boy. It sets into motion once seasonally colored candy is available and one magically finds large bowls and fills them with the newly acquired, and strangely more delicious, snack items. One stocks up on hot chocolate, an assortment of Yankee Candle Co. items and those Christmas tree-shaped Little Debbie cakes that are only available for a month and are freaking tasty.
But one must refrain from sharing one’s holiday celebration outside of one’s home.
For some reason, most do not begin the Christmas season until after Thanksgiving, which is of course insane. Thanksgiving, while a wonderful and delicious holiday, is not pretty. Ugly colors (orange and brown? Bitch please.) and a slightly depressing history involving syphilis and the mass genocide of a native people. Christmas, on the other hand, is about presents and magic babies and fat guys in red suits and prettily ornate shrubbery and the only time each year I actually feel like attending Mass and holiness and donkeys and did I mention the Little Debbie cakes?
Of course, you don’t need to give yourself over to Santa completely just yet if you don’t want to. There’s a whole slew of pre-Christmas thingies to let you dip your toes into the jacuzzi of yuletide joy.
Movie-wise, you can watch films that have a seasonal aspect without being explicitly Christmassy. These include Bridget Jones’s Diary, While You Were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle and Serendipity. And before you get all testes on me for only including chick flicks, the only movie I can think of that isn’t would be Die Hard, so by all means comment with additional choices.
Certain music has a wintry feel to it. Not to go all ovarian on you again, but Sarah McLachlan, Mazzy Star and Juliana Hatfield all have a feel to their music like that of a crackly fire and big afghan. I’m sure boy-friendly artists do too, but I’m a girl dammit, so leave me be.
Additionally, everyone has their own memory associations that identify something as a certain season even if it isn’t. For example, my first winter in Chicago saw the release of Ben Kweller’s Sha Sha album and White Stripe’s White Blood Cells, so to me those will always be winter albums. Similarly, the Buffy episode “Once More With Feeling” is a Christmas staple, if for no other reason than it originally aired in November. Plus on my iTunes, that album is right before Burl Ives Holly Jolly Christmas. Coincidence or pre-Christmas miracle? I don’t think I even need to tell you.
The magical time of pre-Christmas isn’t all sunshine and roses, mostly because the sun means the days are colder and roses aren’t blooming. Celebrating the holidays longer than most people does extend that classic holiday sense of homesickness and increased malaise. And between its falling during the end-of-the-year tying up of loose ends in businesses and the time to shop amongst the unwashed crazy-Christmas-mom masses in an attempt to find amazing presents, it’s also quite stressful, as evidenced by your humble writer spending a full evening in the emergency room this past Friday, having stressed herself into unconsciousness.
But it shan’t ruin my pre-Christmas. Oh no. No, it only furthers my mission. I fully intend to have a preternaturally magical holiday season, god dammit. And you can call it commercial, you can roll your eyes at the intrinsic religion involved, you can even scoff and spew horrible-even-for-the-Chuckle Hut lines about fruit cake (which I don’t believe anyone has actually ever eaten, and may, in fact, not actually exist), but you will not take my pre-Christmas spirit.
Besides, when else during the year can you spend an entire month full-on feasting without really feeling bad about yourself? When else can you really think to yourself “I’m curious about this turducken thing”? When else can you play my patented “First Season OC Christmukkah Episode Drinking Game” and get hospitalized from alcohol poisoning before the opening credits and not be looked upon as a sad drunk? Never, I say. Never.
So during this blessed time of pre-Christmas, bust out your favorite scented candles, get the goofiest sounding drink from Starbucks you can imagine and purchase various kinds of garlandry and know that you will not be judged, my friends. Merry pre-Christmas to all.
Oh, and happy Thanksgiving. Almost forgot that the pre-Christmas thing hasn’t swept the nation yet. But it will.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.