Finding the right time to start holiday season

You’re sitting in your favorite coffee shop intently working on a paper due tomorrow. Just as you get focused, you start to hear a faint jingling of bells broadcast over the speakers. Suddenly, you catch a whiff of peppermint-infused mochas. You turn to look out the window and snow slowly cascades to the ground, creating a winter wonderland before your eyes. It’s fall, you think, but the holidays have already arrived.

The thought of the Christmas holidays in early November may make people annoyed, frustrated or even a bit nauseated. But, if you’re anything like me, the earlier, the better. Still, many people say November should be all about fall: the colorful leaves, the apple cider, the flannels and of course, the Thanksgiving feast.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one to throw my tree up at midnight on Halloween or incessantly blast Christmas carols at every waking hour as most stores like to do. I like taking the holidays one step at a time to ease myself into the festivities and to build anticipation for everything winter has to offer.

The transition is pretty simple.

First come the stores. From Target to Michaels to Costco, specialty and department stores cannot wait to toss out the skeletons and haul in the reindeer. The sooner they bring out the holiday decor, the more money they will make.

The same goes for food and drinks. Starbucks, probably one of the first establishments to sell festive refreshments, stocked up on red (and now green?) cups the second day in November. One day pumpkin spice is all the rage and the next peppermint mochas reign supreme.

These are just the first steps retailers take to introduce the holidays each year. The stores may help set the mood, but the holiday spirit hasn’t found its way into the lives of the masses.

To me, the moment you put up any decorations is when you really start to embrace the holiday spirit.

Mid-November is when I’ll actually start decorating my home. I don’t go too heavy on the exterior of the house to avoid angering any holiday-hating neighbors, but inside, I’ll make the transition from orange and yellow to red and green. Decorating not only puts me in a good mood, but it also helps relieve stress in my everyday life. Plus, the earlier I put holiday decorations up, the longer I can enjoy them before taking them down.

You may be thinking, what about Thanksgiving? Yes, it is still fall, but I see the seasons as as overlapping time frames instead of unrelated to one another. If you deck the halls early, you’ll be all the more ready for the holidays when their time comes.

One of my holiday traditions is the hanging of light balls, Christmas lights wrapped around chicken wire spheres. After Thanksgiving, my neighborhood, Sunset Hills, decorates the trees with over 3,000 colorful balls. They not only brighten up the community but also bring in food for Greensboro Urban Ministry and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. By this time, it seems more socially acceptable to publicly celebrate the holidays.

Come Dec. 1, however, is when I truly bust out the Christmas music, watch my favorite classic Christmas movies and start praying for snow. Finally, the holidays are in full swing.

So why does everyone resist celebrating Christmas early? Unless you have Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” on repeat or watch “Elf” every day starting Halloween night, there’s no reason not to embrace the holiday spirit a little earlier.

The holidays are all about tradition, both new and old. From one family to the next everyone celebrates differently. So the real question shouldn’t be when to start celebrating the holidays, but how.