As of this very moment, there are precisely 17 days, 23 hours, 33 minutes, and 29 seconds until Christmas.
Not that I’m counting.
Or listening to the classic, “All I Want For Christmas is You” by an angel named Mariah Carey as I write this. Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe” is securely tucked away in a titanium sealed box I dare not touch until the time is right.
Since I was a young, the right time to start celebrating this magic-filled holiday was December 1 (November 25 if I was really pushing it). I inflicted this rule on each of my family members with no exceptions since I could sing Christmas carols, and it was for a reason.
My family and I have a tendency to go, what I’ve noticed outsiders like to call, “overboard” during the holiday season. They’ll take an innocent step into our house without knowing what they’re walking into, and once the gargantuan Pier 1 Imports shopping bags filled with Christmas goodies come into their line of sight, my mother and I get a look that has become very familiar. It differs with each person, but they all ultimately voice the same thing: “How much did that cost?”
At least a university tuition, but that’s beside the point.
Every year, a sample of the holiday shopping list looks vaguely like this:
1. Too many ornaments.
2. Excessive decorative lights that typically break by the end of the month.
3. More decorative lights to replace the broken ones.
4. A regular Christmas tree and a miniature version of it in case the larger one gets lonely.
5. Shopping list items “one” through “three” for the mini tree.
6. Different sizes of the Nutcracker statues ranging from the size of a pinky finger to a full grown human being.
The world is lucky that my mom and I live in a townhouse and don’t have the option of outdoor lighting.
That’s why “The Rule” is so important. It’s ultimately to maintain peace in my family and protect the innocent people in our proximity. All holiday items can only be purchased after December 1 to avoid any excessive, unnecessary purchases that would leave my mother and myself with a buyer’s remorse we will never admit.
If December 1 wasn’t the set date to begin the holiday madness, you would be sure to find us wandering happily at a year-round Christmas shop for hours in the middle of July. I can already imagine prancing out right at closing time with an ornament of Mrs. Claus surfing in a cute red and white bather. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we would have a reindeer farm by now as well.
I’m not trying to impose my personal relationship with this highly commercialized holiday onto you. It’s baffling and at times over the top, and during any other time of the year I would agree. However, once the clock strikes 12:00am on December 1…
Well, ignorance is bliss.
Now with every Christmas-buff comes a Scrooge; a person who complains about the clichés of Christmas, the pressures and commercialization of it all. But there is so much to love, and I know anyone would smile at a dishwasher decorated with Mr. and Mrs. Claus smooching.
It’s about the traditions that don’t make sense. It’s about family, joy, and letting ourselves exhale the exhausting issues we face in our lives and inhale the scent of George Michael’s ridiculous hair in the “Last Christmas” video. The stress of December exams may feel like the world is collapsing, but obsessively watching “Love Actually” always provides comfort. Or hating “Love Actually” and just looking at George Michael’s hair again instead. There’s a solution to any issue during the holiday season. I promise.
Using Christmas toilet paper, Googling “dogs wrapped in lights,” bonding over the horror stories of delivery companies, the non-existent line between corny and cool, and “Elf!” What’s not to love?
My mother and I have yet to do our annual Christmas shopping this year, and I’m hoping for the sake of Western students’ households, wallets and sanity that the same goes for everyone else. Fear not, however. Soon enough, priorities will be thrown out the sleigh and for many households, this beautiful holiday will mean more than basic survival. I wish a hearty good luck to fellow lunatic families like mine, but mostly to everyone in close proximity of them.
Protect yourself while you can, because December 1 marks the first day. And this year, I’m more prepared than ever to be living primarily on cheap advent calendar chocolates for the next third of a year.
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