I love Christmas. I love all the commercialism from the 20th time I hear "Jingle Bells" to the appearance of even the smallest string of crooked lights that seems just as full of holiday spirit as the biggest display of lights in the neighborhood. I really like Christmas cards and I buy an extra box or two each year just because I can't resist the scene or the sentiment. I get funny about magazines at the grocery store. I like to pretend the pictures of the elegant holiday tables would be easy to replicate in my own home and that the plates of cleverly frosted and decorated cookies would be artfully sitting on end tables in my house. Our tree (which always goes up the day after Thanksgiving) would look like the fancy ones at Al's Nursery with their themed ornaments and matching colors. Or maybe it could be like the ones done up by the Nordstrom ladies with all the handmade-looking decorations. The gift packages under it would be wrapped in just the right shade of red or green paper and feature a candy cane tucked into each fluffy bow. Tasteful Christmas music will float around the room while a warm fire crackles invitingly.
It's a pleasure to listen to people in the mall talk about what they might get for Eugene or Alice. Going past Bath and Body Works with its great sale causes me to stop in and buy a bagful of good smelling foam for the bathroom sinks. And I never forget to stop by See's for a sample of whatever candy they're handing out that day. Even if it's chocolate covered cherries which I can't stand, they taste different, better at this time of the year. Maybe they cut way down on the amount of sugar they use in the syrup for Christmas. The seasonal books at Barnes and Noble are a pleasure to handle and smile over even though I won't buy a one of them since they are nearly unreadable and not suited for reading except for the few holiday weeks in December. Who wants to read a tale about "Secret Santa Surprises" in January?
I still spend a day or two or even three making Christmas cookies - sugar cookies, gingerbread men and maybe biscotti. Sometimes I even throw a cookie decorating party for my family members who attend somewhat reluctantly except for my grandchildren who are THRILLED to be here licking big wads of frosting off their fingers and yelling about who's going to "win."
Christmas starts around Thanksgiving time for me. I have my lists ready and the calendar starts to fill up before we eat turkey. I don't mind one bit how early Christmas shows up in the stores. It only extends the joy of the season for me. I confess, however, that it was a little weird to be looking at light displays in Costco wearing shorts and flipflops in August. I decided to skip those aisles until after Halloween. I won't get tired of them until the 50% off signs disappear in January.