It began to look a lot like Christmas in our little house four weeks ago when I decorated the tree the earliest ever.
Based on plenty of friends' social media posts, I'm not the only (or even the first) tree decorator to give the holiday season an extra early jumpstart this year. 2020 has been one heck of a trial, and we're doing our darndest to scrounge up joy anywhere and everywhere we can.
For me, that's being able to enjoy my sparkling (artificial) Christmas tree as much as possible, an easily attainable goal since I never leave the house anymore. Each time I round the corner from the office, its beacon of warm light and color emits a little jolt of joy, propelling me through the next hour, another day.
As someone who's been taking the pandemic's restrictions deeply seriously since March, it feels good to rebel in some small way, joining the ranks of those people who start into Christmas well before Thanksgiving has begun.
Growing up, we were under strict protocol not to put up the tree until the day after Thanksgiving. It always came down on New Year's Eve. Now in my own house with my own holiday rules (and a partner who, frankly, wouldn't care if the tree stayed up year-round if it made me happy), I'm able to fully and rebelliously embrace my Christmas tree obsession.
The same day I decorated the tree, I began listening to one of many holiday playlists, a mostly instrumental mix of classical carols and choir arrangements. A few favorites include "The Holly and the Ivy" and "Coventry Carol" performed by the King's College Choir. I can also listen to the Nutcracker Suite (the George Balanchine/New York City Ballet Orchestra version) on repeat nonstop for weeks. Soon I'll break out the Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald holiday mixes. (It's best to ease in with Christmas music so as to avoid burnout over the long haul.)
While we avoid cozy-scented candles due to our long-haired cat, who has access to almost all horizontal surfaces in the house, I'm also so basic now that I can't do Christmastime without Bath & Body Works' air freshener plug-ins in the "Winter" scent. The matching hand soap in the bathroom, too. (I dread the day it's discontinued.)
Christmas is unquestionably hampered by the global pandemic in myriad ways this year, but the virus absolutely cannot — will not — dim the holiday's scents, sights and sounds for me. Instead, it's done the opposite. ♦