Summer will always be my favourite season.
Winter, as a whole, will always be my least favourite.
But the stretch between Dec. 1 and Jan. 2 remains the best time of year.
Saying 2020 has been a unique year would be an understatement.
Amid all the chaos, it remains important to retain at least a sense of normalcy.
We need to laugh, we need to have fun, we need to celebrate the things that make us happy.
It’s so important this year, I’ve even been willing to overlook a longtime pet peeve – the absurd rush to make everything all about Christmas the minute the first leaf turns colour.
I understand why the stores do it. But I’ve always found it a little annoying when I see replica Santas and plastic trees pop up even before Halloween.
I also cringe when I see folks putting up their elaborate home decorations the day after they pull down all their ghouls and goblins.
When I was a young broth of a lad, we didn’t put up our tree until mid-December, following my aunt’s birthday.
Our outside lights generally went up at approximately the same time.
Now, for any Christmas-mad youngster, that at times seemed like we were waiting a little too long. As we got older, the ‘rule’ was relaxed, though only slightly.
Once I had a family of my own, featuring a young mother who would celebrate Christmas 365 days a year if she could, I stayed steadfast with one non-negotiable point – no decorations of any kind until after Remembrance Day.
After that, let the magic flow. Just expect grumblings and ‘it’s too early’ comments from me until December rolled around.
But this year, given our lives have been dominated by a worldwide pandemic for much of the year, I saw the decorations as something different.
Hope. A chance to focus on happier things. However you choose, or choose not to, celebrate the season, it’s important to have someting to distract us from the harsh realities of a situation that can’t pass soon enough.
One of my neighbours has had the full Clark Griswold yard/home lights setup for weeks now.
It makes me smile.
Our tree is up, with a few presents under it already.
It makes me smile.
That’s important, because I know I may not be able to have in-person celebrations with my family members in other cities. That doesn’t make me smile.
Thinking of those who’ve lost loved ones to this insidious pandemic. Struggling businesses and charitable organizations. Folks who’ll have a difficult Christmas this year. That doesn’t make me smile.
(Side note: Local businesses are the bedrock of our communities. Please support them as much as you possibly can).
Last month, I was looking to pick up some Halloween candy and encountered a veritable phalanx of Santas and elves standing guard.
A see of red and green where orange and black should have ruled the day.
Instead of taking a picture and sending it to a few friends with a ‘tsk, tsk… look at this store’ admonishment, I just smiled.
In that moment, I didn’t see crass commercialism. I saw a reminder that this too shall pass.
We can always use more smiles.
Go get ‘em, Santa.