I start watching Christmas movies in October. While finishing my kids’ Halloween costumes, eating their candy, and planning my Thanksgiving menu, holiday movies are on in the background.
I also start rockin’ around the (musical) Christmas tree with Christmas music in September.
You know what else? In November, I have my first red cup drink at Starbucks. It’s usually a skim one-pump chestnut praline latte, and I love every calorie-laden sip.
We put up our tree before Thanksgiving too. It’s pre-lit, so we enjoy the glow without decorations for a while, and then the day after Thanksgiving, we trim it! It goes up early and stays up late — well into February.
I hear you inhaling sharply.
I also believe I may hear some of you clapping. I know I’m not actually alone in my stretch-out-the-celebrations-as-long-as-possible style.
If you know me, you know I love me some holiday season-ing. (Yes, I made it a verb.) I’ve written two holiday books and countless social posts about holiday-ing with my family. We try to go all in with our whole hearts, and we try to squeeze every drop of joy out of each one. Throw in my kids’ Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter-time birthdays, and our family festivity motto is “Celebrate big!”.
It seems that sometimes when people express their holiday joy outside of December, they’re met with scoffs and scowls and general Scrooge-iness, and I always wonder why. I understand letting each holiday breathe on its own, giving each its own space and time to be enjoyed, but what in the world warrants actual anger at someone simply enjoying a holiday or celebration that brings them deep joy? Can’t ‘tis the season mean just that — this is an entire season full of opportunities for celebrating?
The God we celebrate and praise created each of us with unique hearts and likes and things that bring us joy, and I’m pretty sure He wants us to lean into them. Irenaeus’s famous quote, “The glory of God is man fully alive,” resonates with my year-round, Christmas-loving heart because loving and celebrating holidays both big and small is part of who He made me to be. I hope it brings Him glory when I lean into that, operating in who I am by His design.
Friend, when it comes to celebrations, you do you. It doesn’t matter one bit when you jump into the holidays. October? November? Christmas Eve? Not at all? Whatever works for you! All Thanksgiving all the time? Okay! Put up the tree tonight or keep it tucked away til Christmas Eve? Game on! Have a holiday movie marathon and cookie swap in November? Go for it! You get to celebrate in the way that’s most meaningful for you, and no one gets to tell you there’s a better or different or right way to do that.
A few years ago, my family celebrated my mom’s twentieth year of being breast cancer-free.
We celebrated every one of the gifted-to-us days from the last twenty years with pink everything, loud laughter, tearful stories, and being together. The week before our party, I attended the funeral of a friend who punched metastatic breast cancer in the face for eight years, right up until the end. Hundreds of us gathered to celebrate her life through our tears. With such a different kind of celebration so fresh in my mind, the celebration for my mom was even deeper and more meaningful than I’d expected it to be.
We have today, which means we have a chance to celebrate.
So do it. Celebrate — whatever you want, whenever you want. Put up all the Christmas decorations your house can hold. Eat the cake. Keep your tree up into February. Lean into celebration whenever you can because there is extraordinary in every single one of our plain old everydays, and each one of them deserves to be celebrated.
Whatever brings you joy and God glory, do that — during the holidays and all your days. Merry Christmas season to you and yours from all of us at DaySpring, (in)courage, and Mary & Martha!