To the Neighbors Who Just Decorated for Christmas on November 1st. I Get It.


While driving home from work this week, my eyeballs were accosted with one of the most egregious sights since culottes crept back in style.  A house, completely lit and decorated from roof to sidewalk in Christmas lights… on the first of November.

My first reaction was to unloose audible sentiments that only Jesus could forgive. “Insufferable psychopaths.” And then text my husband that I just passed some selfish lunatic robbing everyone’s Christmas anticipation with candy cane lights while spitting in the face of Thanksgiving.

Okay I did all that. But my second and shocking internal reaction was this. Ya know what? I friggin’ get it.

Normally I’m the person who gets irrationally annoyed by premature Christmas celebrations of any kind, as if Jesus’ birthday was my own personal holiday and others were smiting my wishes. For twenty years now, my children have known Christmas music only commences the day after Thanksgiving. Décor gests busted out the first weekend of December where it belongs and we start shopping a few weeks beforehand, unlike the lunatics trading gift ideas on Halloween.

Of course not everyone adheres to this same common sense and tradition, and every year I’ll always white knuckle it past some house with a prematurely lit indoor Christmas tree and bite the lip when some lady saunters into work with a Santa hat on Nov. 15th. These people will always be around, unfortunately. Like Misquotes, and “fur mama” bumper stickers.

However, I have never in my life seen a neighbor disembark from social norms to the point of exterior decorating, complete with lasers and snow globes, this early. And not that it should matter, but this was a nice house in a nice neighborhood. If we’re talkin’ about homeowners who bring in the garbage three days after pickup, and hang rebel flags in lieu of window treatments, I’d say perhaps mental capacity was to blame. But alas. This what the year 2020 has done to us.

This disaster of a year has caused respectable families capable of excellent lawn and gutter care to say eff it, we’re busting out the twinkle lights before the leaves are fully raked. Because darn it, we need some cheer.

We’ve endured homeschooling our children, months of lock down that left us without root treatments and dining out. We’ve been dealing with racial wars, and politically-divided friends going at it like the Bloods and Crips on Facebook. Suicides, domestic unrest and alcoholism are at an all-time high, so if the O’Brian’s down the street need to throw some reindeer on the porch…bless ‘em.

I’m a chronic optimist, and it takes a lot to get me down. I cannot even imagine going through this year as a less joyful person. I think what’s hit me the hardest is the cancelling of “fun” and the lack of social activities. I want Sunday school, kids’ band concerts and New Year’s Eve parties back. And to see my kids hop off the bus without looking like masked train robbers.

This is why I think we’re all looking forward to the escape and joy of Christmas more than ever. I’ve never in my life Googled “seating décor ideas” or “matching Mommy and Me holiday dresses” (this might actually be my cry for help). We all just need more normal, and the relief and comfort that comes from togetherness, and what really matter. Pie and Jesus.

So here’s to a wonderful Thanksgiving, and the longest-lasting gingerbread latte-infused Christmas season of our lives. And to those neighbors down the street. I apologize for the initial judgement. Jingle on.

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JESSICA KASTNER

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