To grossly paraphrase Jane Austen: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a house no longer in possession of a jack-o’-lantern must be in want of a holiday.
Not even a week after Halloween, I saw something and, like things often happen, once you see one, you see many.
As is my way, I lugged a three-load-full basket of laundry into the master bedroom to fold. I hate folding laundry. It’s boring, and staticy, and I get very little completion-satisfaction.
There was a time when the first baby was still new that I enjoyed matching up the little socks; folding the soft, tiny onesies; stacking the velvety sleepers ... but then the first sock got eaten by the washer and folding laundry meant looking for baby stains that didn’t come out in the wash. The thrill was gone.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a mindless chore is in want of a mindless distraction. My laundry-folding distraction of choice is watching made-for-TV movies — and the cheesier the better. You know the ones: easy plots, predictable dialogue — movies that you can come into at the 30-minute mark, figure out the story, and turn off at any moment knowing how it ends.
When I flipped to the Romantic Cheesy Movie Channel, I was expecting one that I could come into with the full laundry basket then leave when it was empty without any emotional attachment.
Mid shake-out of the first T-shirt, I froze like a reindeer caught in sleigh headlights: a Christmas movie? I could still count the hours since the last trick-or-treater had knocked on the door.
I stood, gap-jawed, and watched a pretty woman and a dashing man at a mall grumbling about Christmas. They were forming a plan to fulfill business goals that had nothing to do with the holiday and everything to do with a plot device for them to fall in love. (If you said, “Oh! The Mistletoe Promise! I saw that!” you know exactly what I’m talking about.)
In a month, I would be all about Christmas movies. In two months I would be going through Christmas movie withdrawal. But my family hadn’t even decided where Thanksgiving was going to be — this was too, too early.
I am a One-Holiday-at-a-Time kinda gal. I’ve carried on about it for years: First Halloween, then Thanksgiving and, when I’m burping up pumpkin pie, Christmas. The 12 days of Christmas? You know they’re after December 25th, right? I will admit to having scoffed at a ... some ... several people who brought Christmas into early November.
But after my initial surprise I not only watched the movie, I finished it long after the laundry was folded.
A couple days later, I was on basketball carpool duty and driving down a residential street in the dark morning.
“Hey, buddy, take down your Halloween lights,” I said to the boys in the car while I pointed to a house.
“Mom,” my son corrected me, “those are white, not orange. Christmas lights.”
Then, I saw Christmas everywhere! A wreath here, a commercial there, a store jam-packed with so much red and green it could have been Santa’s distribution center.
But here is the holiday miracle: I didn’t rant about the Christmas décor before Thanksgiving, I didn’t scream “One holiday at time!” or even snicker inwardly. Truth be told, I didn’t have any negative feelings about it.
Our worlds — big and small — need unity, not division, and a wreath alongside a cornucopia of gourds is far from rant-worthy.
You do you, people, because it is a truth universally acknowledged that any person lacking cheer is in want of a holiday. And they should have whatever one they wish.