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Dolor Sit Amet

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Deck the Halls

When does the holiday season start? Like, the “happy holidays” holiday season. Christmas. When does that start? When should I put a tree in my house? When is it okay to disinter Mariah Carey? Do you have a date in mind? How set-in-stone is that? How important? Is this too many questions?

If you think these inquiries are meaningless or unimportant, it’s clear we live in different dimensions. Return to yours before it’s too late. If you haven’t seen tooth-and-nail arguments about the mental soundness of hanging colored lights before the fourth Thursday in November, your soul may yet be salvageable. Turn back now.

Now I can reorient myself toward the rest of us, the grit-covered, blood soaked combatants stood firmly in their appropriately-ornamented trenches. From February through September, we cohabitate peacefully, but every autumn we return to our battle stations, intent on disemboweling either the first person to hang a wreath while the trees are still clothed or the first person to disembowel another person for hanging a wreath before the boughs are bare.

When does the holiday season begin? The most popular answer might be “Thanksgiving”. If you’d asked me a few years ago, I’d have said that too, because I’m remarkably impressionable. If my friends all jumped off a bridge, you couldn’t stop me from following suit and challenging gravity alongside them.

Back then, I shared in the suburban disgust thrown in equal supply upon those who decorated before Thanksgiving and the people who left those decorations up well into January. Sometimes, on the eve of summer, if you squinted, you could see a string of lights hanging from the gutter above a neighbor’s garage. That’s how you knew who to hate. The gaul on this guy. He thinks if they’re not on, we won’t know. We know, asshole.

I’ve had an awakening since then. I’ve admitted that this is my favorite time of the year. I put out a stupid amount of Christmas-centric content to guarantee I’d never be able to walk back that admission.

Still, for a while, I held myself to the will of the enlightened minds who wrote the “no holly until after the annual turkey massacre” rule. They knew something I didn’t know, I figured. I could abide, but braver souls could not. Around the world, evergreens went up in early November, sometimes earlier. The cycle of fury rose reliably in tandem.

For a while, I fought against my allies — c’mon, y’all, Christmas is fun, but it’s not time yet. Be respectful of the calendar. It wasn’t until a month ago or so that I solidified my opposition to that stance. It wasn’t Christmas that did it. This one goes out to the spooky kids.

The Thanksgiving rule has been in place for as long as I can remember. But when does the Halloween season start? I don’t know that I’ve heard anyone put a concrete date to it. Some time in October seems sensible, right? But I boot up my 1997 Dell on September first, and the internet’s calling it “spooky season”. The fuck? My first reaction is confusion: it’s not even close, right? But then I’m mad. Christmas gets less than a month, but we’ll throw a full two at the pumpkin day? This is bullshit.

Then I remember how many birthdays I’ve had. Getting in fights on the internet is a part of growing up. But once you’re grown, you either phase out of it or you throw on a pair of sunglasses, take a bad selfie in the driver’s seat of your F150, and change your name on all your socials to “ALPHAWOLF”. Sometimes, when you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.

I’m not a big Halloween guy. It’s cool, I like the aesthetics, I’m happy folks can have fun with it, but I usually stick to pumpkin carving and maybe a gathering or two. To me, September 2nd is not spooky season. But those people who really vibe with Halloween, the ones who wait all year for it, dress up once, twice, seven times, go all out with decorations, and really live it up? They disagree. And what am I gonna do? Fight them on it? What’s my alternative proposal? Instead of having a lot of fun in September and early October, do absolutely nothing? I don’t have the power to make that sound convincing, and if I did, I’d use it on the Super Bowl and Saint Patrick’s Day way before I’d think about applying it to Halloween.

The spooky seasoners haven’t spoiled Halloween for me. The earliest heralds of the Christmas season have never spoiled Christmas. Not to wax too philosophical in a blog post about the appropriateness of gay apparel in autumn, but I think we have a tendency to evaluate and enforce conformity in our social surroundings. We don’t like people who wear shorts when it’s snowing (the author, circa 2013). They’re not hurting us, but they’re not the same as us, and that can be fucking annoying. But I think it’s more annoying when we’re unhappy. I don’t think it bothered me that people were celebrating Halloween before I’d begun to do the same. I think it bugged me that they were having more fun than I was. But making them put away the jack o’ lanterns wouldn’t have given me happiness, it just would have ruined theirs.

Most of our Christmas gear is up. We’re excited. Maybe yours isn’t, and maybe it won’t be for a while. That’s cool too. We all do things our own way. Sometimes we need rules to order our behavior. Sometimes we don’t. Maybe you’re not into Christmas. A few weeks is enough. Honestly, I can do all of Halloween in one. This year, I learned to live with early spookings. You can do the same. I believe in you.

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