I’m usually one of those people. You know, the ones who are sticklers for not putting the Christmas tree up until the day after Thanksgiving and if I hear Christmas music prior to Turkey Day when I go into a store, I roll my eyes a little. It’s not because I hate Christmas! I love Christmas, and Christmas music, and Christmas trees, and all things generally associated with the holiday. I just love it so much that I think it should be special and I like the anticipation of making myself wait. I also like to give Thanksgiving its own time where I can really focus on thankfulness, family and friends, and the fact that cranberry jelly from the can is the greatest (although your homemade recipe is creeping up towards number one, Aunty Sharon!).
But this year…although it pains me a tiny bit to admit it…I lifted my annual ban on all things Christmas before Thanksgiving.
I first confessed how I was feeling to my coworker. I prefaced it with, “I would normally never!” when admitting I felt like listening to a little Christmas music in my office. He said, “It’s 2020, take your happiness where you can get it!” And you know what y’all? This is so true. It has been a weird year. I don’t even have to list all the things that have been major stressors for everyone. I am generally a positive, glass half-full kinda gal, but if any year was the year to let myself listen to Jingle Bells before the end of November, I think this is it.
When I got home from work that day, I made the announcement to my husband that I was lifting my “ban” on early Christmas. And do you know what he said? “I’m so happy!” Then he turned to our two year-old son and said, “You’re about to have a lot of new favorite movies bud,” and we’ve been watching Christmas movies ever since. If you’re wondering if I felt a little guilty for previous years’ grinchiness (he never said anything!), yes, I did.
So I’ve been playing my Christmas music at work, changed my air fresheners over to pine and cranberry apple, and put our little Christmas tree in the office window. I even took down my meme:
I’ve also been practicing another gratefulness “technique.” One of my pet peeves is when at the end of every year, people say, “Oh I just can’t wait for (insert year here) to be over, it’s been the worst year!” Well you know what? When you say that every year, every year is going to be the worst year for you. And then you’ll get to be 100 and you’ll just have had 100 terrible years. So I try to look back and think about the good that happened. Yes, good things happened even in 2020, even though this has been a genuinely difficult year on a global scale. Lots of people had babies and got to spend extra time at home with them; people grew closer to family members by working from home; people got bonuses at work for being considered “essential;” people made a new friend; people got a new job; or people adopted a puppy. The list could go on and on.
As we wrap up 2020, I want to encourage you: if you have a litany of all the bad things that happened this year going through your head, try to start finding just one good thing — one good thing that you can say happened in 2020. And if you’ve got nothing, you still have a whole month to make that good thing happen! And maybe, just maybe, if you were a little grinchy like me, it might make you feel better to turn on a little Christmas music.