Christmas comes earlier each year

Two weeks ago, I noticed that the Carlsons had put their Christmas lights up on their home.
Wasn’t that rushing the season a bit? But then I looked at the flyers with Thursday’s newspaper immediately after Hallowe’en and all were promoting Christmas.
We hadn’t even gotten to Remembrance Day, which used to be the day when the community went to the cenotaph and then in the afternoon, the merchants and their staffs converted their stores to Christmas.
Today, that changeover occurs earlier on the calendar.
The Carlsons were not early and they did their lighting in shirtsleeves.
On Friday night as I drove to the airport to pick up my wife, two homes along Fifth Street were colourfully lit with their outdoor lights. I felt a little bit envious knowing that I would not be putting the lights up in warm weather.
I also knew that the branches in my flowering crabs would be brittle and I would come out of them scraped, battered, and bleeding.
I prefer to put the lights up on a warm, sunny day. Snow, ice, and rain are unwelcome. Extension cords uncurl easier with the warmth of the southern sun while the strings of lights expand and stretch easier, too.
This past Saturday certainly was too bitterly cold and wet to put the lights up—it wasn’t even safe to walk around the yard. Instead, Marnie and I did some Christmas shopping and Christmas music was playing in several of the stores.
On Sunday, the rain had stopped, the ice had melted, and even though the wind was blowing a cold, biting breeze, I committed to putting the lights up.
Leaving the lights up in the trees year-round hopefully makes outdoor lighting easier but you still end up replacing strings. And the branches were just as brittle and hard as I had imagined.
But I lucked out—the lights came on! Then I put the lights on the shrubs and all but one half-string lit up.
In the kitchen, Christmas fruitcakes were baking. They were filling the house with the wonderful smells of cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and brandy. Just walking in from the cold outdoors filled your nostrils with the warmth of the Christmas season.
Earlier last week, our house was filled with smells from the Christmas baking. Walking through the back door into the aromas from the kitchen was wonderful. Yet now all is packed and sealed away in the freezer waiting for Christmas.
Everything seems early. Yet I look at the calendar and there is less than six weeks until Christmas. Parades, parties, and school concerts will descend on us and our lives will speed up as we get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.
And I’ve just heard from my future daughter-in-law that she and Adam will arrive home on Christmas Eve. It is going to be a great Christmas.

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