ONE OF THE perks of getting older is having the privilege of changing your mind.

I used to think it foolish to get excited about the holidays until they were nearly upon us.

But having lived through so many and knowing how quickly they come and go, I’ve changed my tune.

I notice stores already are stocking their shelves for Christmas, and while it is not yet Halloween, I’m not scowling at the practice as I have in the past. I’m no longer embarrassed to say I feel a jolt of childish delight, seeing all those red baubles and bows.

When we were kids, our neighbors always put their Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. No matter how hard we begged, my father would never go out into the woods to get our tree until a week or 10 days before the holiday. But unlike our neighbors, who took their tree down the day after Christmas and considered the holiday over and done with, Dad let us keep ours up until New Year’s, which we regarded as a fringe benefit of being in our family.

The thing I love about the time around Thanksgiving and Christmas is that people are really nice and generous and happy. I like Christmas shopping and wrapping presents. And I love the feeling of anticipation that pervades the holidays — the magic we felt as little kids.


I admit it — I’m a sucker for all of it and feel let down when it’s over. Maybe that’s the reason I tend to purchase Christmas gifts during the year, if I happen to spy items I view as particularly fitting for friends or family. I get to harbor a bit of that anticipation all year long.

I know people who are so enthralled with Christmas that they start indulging long before the season begins.

One woman has collected storage boxes full of Christmas decorations over the years and a few weeks ago announced she took them out and started setting up her snowy villages, Santa Clauses, snowmen and other Christmas paraphernalia. She even posted pictures on Facebook.

A man I know is so into Christmas that on the first of November he gets a group of kids together to decorate his house for the holidays and they go way overboard.

Where several years ago I might have thought that was outlandish, I now say, why not?

If something tickles your fancy, go for it. Whatever makes you happy.


In Waterville, signs announcing church Christmas bazaars are cropping up on street corners. Marden’s Surplus & Salvage has been selling Christmas cards for a few weeks now. Organizers of the Parade of Lights and opening of Santa’s mini-village, Kringleville, held annually the day after Thanksgiving, are starting to announce this year’s plans.

Where several years ago I would have balked at all this happening so soon, I now embrace it.

Time is marching on. In a few days, Halloween will be over. November looms large, and Thanksgiving will come and go in the blink of an eye.

We all know what happens next.

And before that freezing, frigid season arrives right after New Year’s, we may as well milk the holiday season for all it’s worth.

No stigma attached.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 26 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at


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