Caught between the holidays

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day proper, so we decided to hang the flag out in remembrance. My husband went downstairs to retrieve it, took the kids outside to put it up, as I kept reading and drinking my coffee.

After a bit, I realized that he had been gone a while. A long while. So I ventured downstairs to see what was going on.  This is what I saw:

Boxes of Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations pulled from storage

And on the piano in the foyer:

Snowflake lights

When I finally tracked him to the roof, he called down that it was probably the last warmish day this year and that he wanted to at least get the Christmas lights up along the rooftop before it was covered with snow and ice.

S… up on the roof

“We’re not turning them on; we’re just putting them up,” he reasoned with me. “After all, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away.”

I’m torn about this. Of course it makes sense to get on the roof on a warm, clear (albeit windy) day to decorate for Christmas. It’s easier to bend the wire and press the clips into the roofline — not to mention safer — than when it’s a raw and blustery 20 degrees outside.  But it’s not even Thanksgiving yet — how can we possibly start decorating for Christmas?

I keep lamenting the fact that Thanksgiving in the U.S. doesn’t get its “propers.” Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, it feels more like a transitional holiday — a day to carbo-load for the hectic race through the December parties and to-do lists. I’m appalled that “Black Friday” shopping starts on Thursday — a holiday, for crying out loud. Shouldn’t we be more thankful for all we have? Aren’t we overlooking the significance of that?

But there’s so much to do, and the wanna-be organizer in me longs to get it done. Buy those gifts now and get them wrapped, so in December I’m not wandering the mall, overheated in my winter coat and buffeted about the aisles by people and their carts/strollers/bags. Online shopping after Thanksgiving has saved me from this scenario before and I suspect it will again this year.

I’d like to keep Christmas prep out of my November, but I’d also like to not be crazy trying to get everything done in December. So I’m curious: do you feel this same kind of conundrum or is it just me? How do you balance the holidays around your house? Particularly if you live in a cold climate, when do you decorate outside — or do you?

(I should note — the temperature dropped overnight and the wind chill factor this morning was 17 degrees. I believe S feels vindicated in his decision to decorate early outside.)

About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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8 Responses to Caught between the holidays

  1. alenaslife says:

    You know I’m a Thanksgiving die-hard. But Chicago weather demands you get while the getting’s good. I hope you hold to your “don’t light them” pledge and take the month to give thanks and eat turkey.

    • I was thinking of you when I wrote this post — knowing that there’s a line in the sand between Thanksgiving and then the rest of the December holiday insanity. Since I don’t have to climb around on the roof or put up the outside decorations at all, it’s really up to S how and when he wants to do it.

      We definitely won’t light ’em until after Thanksgiving. I promise! We’ll also wait until after to put out those inflatable things all over the front lawn. Subtlety is not our strong-suit when it comes to Christmas decorating.

  2. The roof decorating thing makes a lot of sense. A fall like that could cripple, if not kill. Be smart, be safe. Lawn decorations can wait – but lights on the roof? Do it now.

    I am not a particularly big fan of Christmas, so I have never really been in this sort of transitional turbulance. However, I do appreciate the times I get to spend with family and friends over the holidays, and look forward to them for that fact. Saying that, we travel over Christmas, so our place never gets decorated. I personally wouldn’t start until December.

    I’ve heard of some families that pull out the tree and decorate it on Thanksgiving, when all of the family is together and can share the experience.

    As for shopping, that is something I tend to think about throughout the year – and for any occassion. I may find the perfect birthday present for my sisters two or three (or more) months before their birthday. As a knitter, and wanting to handknit things for the people closest to me (and the only people I would consider spending my hard earned and small amount of money on anyway), I have to start early. I started holiday knitting in October – and yeah, it feels a little weird, but put in the bigger picture, it stops December from being such a stressful ratrace and allows me to enjoy the small things with my family.

    • It’s funny — most of our neighbors thought he was crazy for starting, but he just laughed and told them that in about two weeks he’d look like a genius for getting the roof done.

      I like that idea of pulling out the tree over Thanksgiving, but in reality we tend to be too busy with board games, food, and cleaning up to get ready for the next holiday. Or maybe I’m just too lazy. I have to gear up for decorating the tree each year.

      I have a similar theory about hand knits for Christmas presents: I only knit for the ones who truly appreciate it — and then only if I want to. I feel like knitting is one of my best stress busters, so I’d hate to put any deadline on it. That pretty much translates to my mom and a friend or two. Good luck with all your holiday knitting!

      • My family doesn’t get enough hand knits throughout the year since I knit for hire primarily. This year I’ve got boot socks, a cape, two scarves, and handwarmers for my partner, daughter, sisters, and mom. Then I decided to design a balaclava for the white elephant that the partner’s family does. Nothing but the cape is time consuming, and I can work on most things while watching tv or waiting in line. I really try to knit one thing for each of the people who are particularly close to me (read: 2 people always, sometimes adding 2 or 3 others each season).

      • I’ve seen your knitting output on your blog — and it’s astonishing to me! You’re very quick, very creative. My holiday list is really short in comparison — probably because I’m a sl-o-o-o-o-o-w knitter.

        I hope you’ll post your gifts (although I realize that it might need to be after the holidays); I’m very interested to see how your cape turns out.

  3. Susan Bahr says:

    You know, I told my oldest daughter just the other day, it would be a good idea to take advantage of the warm spell and hang our Christmas lights… her response? It’s the cold that makes it FEEL like Christmas, Mom.
    Great, then you go hang the dang lights.
    Oh wait, she always does…

    • My husband likes to put the ones on the roof in the warm weather (which is smart), but he still likes to do the ones that he can reach with a stepstool when it’s cold. The kids don’t care — as long as there’s hot chocolate at the end of it.

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