Here at Roanoke Landscapes, we have already begun putting up holiday decorations for our clients. With Thanksgiving still a couple weeks away and Halloween barely out the door, this seems unorthodox. At least, that’s what I thought when we began getting shipments of wreaths and lights. That smell of fresh pine needles pervaded the shop while, outside, people jogged by in shorts and T-shirts. It was weird; a kind of unseasonable contradiction.
In my family, holiday decorating NEVER took place before Thanksgiving, and even after Thanksgiving came to pass, we would typically wait a couple weeks to bring out the lights and tinsel. We followed a strict decorating tradition: the holiday season began with us driving out to the country and cutting down a pine tree. We would then lug the thing back home, prop it up (usually with much difficulty) and, as a family, hang our highly nostalgic collection of Christmas ornaments. A couple would inevitably break after falling off a tenuous branch, someone would have way too much wine, and, at the end of it all, when we’d stand back in the living room and gaze upon our handiwork, the tree would always look a bit crooked.
Then, there were lights. Lights usually went up about a week before Christmas day. I would love to tell you more about my family’s light-hanging rituals, but I almost always missed out on this particular chore. My taller, bigger brothers were the ones who ended up on my dad’s rusty ladder, haphazardly hanging glowing strings of icicles from the gutters. I have heard it was often bitterly cold. Perhaps this is why we always started with an outrageous design plan (fluorescent Santa and his reindeer flying off the roof, our entire house outlined in gold tinsel, etc.) only to settle for the absolute minimum amount of decorations. As my dad always said, we only really need enough so that our neighbors don’t think we’re too miserly to celebrate Christmas.
Once the lights were hung, we figured the Holidays were close enough that we could finally start celebrating. My mom would blast her favorite Christmas albums on our stereo, my dad would pick up a variety pack of Lindt truffles from the fancy department store by his work, and my brothers and I would eagerly look forward to whatever gifts awaited us.
Still, the smell of fresh pine and the sight of string lights hanging from rooftops makes me excited for the season of giving (and chocolate). However, when the telltale signs of Holiday cheer start popping up in early November, this excitement feels a little bit premature, especially as I sit here at work, with no fancy chocolate in sight. It’s also about 70 degrees outside, and I kind of want to get my fall hiking in before I start thinking about eating my weight in treats and hibernating for the winter. So, as we prepare to decorate for our clients, I’m feeling a bit conflicted. Is it too early? Should I stave away the holiday excitement, or give in? As a friend (and enthusiastic decorator) said to me a couple weeks back: “Halloween starts on September 1st and Christmas starts on November 1st, that way, you’re always celebrating something!”
What do you think?