That song from "A Nightmare Before Christmas" is going through my head. Today is my daughter's birthday (she's 9! Ack, my baby is growing up!), and it's Veteran's Day. Our traditional "decorate the house for Christmas" day. Now, I know some of you are probably covering your mouths in horror and protesting that it's not even THANKSGIVING, for heaven's sake! However, my husband is a retail manager and travels quite a lot during what he calls "fourth quarter" and what I call "the Christmas season." If I'm to have any help at all with decorating and preparation, we do it on Veteran's Day.
I'm very prompt about taking all the decorations down before I go back to school in early January, so putting everything up this early gives us a chance to enjoy Christmas.
I'm an Army Brat, and for my entire life (until mid-high school) I lived far, far away from relatives. Many times I was overseas. I don't regret or resent this, because I'm really happy with the experiences I had.
Since my dad retired, we moved close to a lot of relatives. I have a huge extended family. When I was in high school, my grandfather set aside a large part of land that he owned and established a Christmas tree farm. My parents also have an attached Christmas tree farm.
This tree farm season is really a year-round thing. We plant the trees in spring, trim them in the summer, and sell them in late fall. It takes all of us, all the kids, grandkids, great-grandkids...to make it a success. It draws the whole family together. This season will be our first season without my grandfather. He passed away from colon cancer last fall.
People have already come to pick and mark the trees they want. On Thanksgiving Day, we'll be out there assisting people in cutting their trees, net baling them, and fastening them to their cars with twine. You'd be amazed at how many people go on Thanksgiving Day to get their Christmas tree.
My joy in this season is great. My extended family, which I never really knew when growing up, gets together every weekend to work together selling trees. We share food and warm drinks. The older kids cut trees, the smaller kids haul them, and the smallest ones pass out candy canes to visitors. We stand around talking and laughing while staying warm by a firepit. When our small helpers need a break, we take them inside and do crafts with them. From oldest to youngest, everyone has a role to play.
I know for some people it's hard to see Christmas encroaching already, with Thanksgiving still about two weeks away. But from the time I see that first candy cane in the stores on October 31st, my heart leaps. Take some time this season to enjoy and be thankful for all that you have. Spend time with your family. Make traditions. Today, I'll be "making Christmas" with my family. Whether you "make Christmas" in early November, or on Christmas Eve (we get a horse-drawn wagon every year on Christmas Eve to pick up a tree)...or even if you don't celebrate Christmas...make your season special.