Somewhere around Halloween, I started to see the signs.  A bit of glitter.  A bit of red mixed with green.  A snowflake. And with Thanksgiving  barely a whiff of pumpkin pie on the wind!  The horror!

I have strong feelings about Christmas.  Very strong feelings.  Maybe it’s the whole Myers-Briggs J thing.  I love lists.  I love schedules.  I love order and organization and things in their place.

And, to me, Christmas belongs in December.

Some of you probably think that I am a killjoy as I stalk around, Grinch-like, scowling at Christmas trees up before Thanksgiving.  It makes me twitch, I admit.  I can’t help it, though!

You see, to me, if Christmas starts straying further and further from the 25th, it begins to lose some of its magic.  If we start in November, why not October?  If October, why not July? Why not celebrate it all year round?

Well, okay, we kind of do, don’t we?  Christ wasn’t born on December 25th, as far as we know.  Christians aren’t just Christians in December.  But, at the same time, we’ve designated December 25th as a day to celebrate Christ’s birthday and a birthday is a day.  Since it’s such an incredibly special and amazing and important and awe-inspiringly glorious birthday – the Birthday – we start celebrating early and keep celebrating after. It’s not just any old holiday.  It’s Christmas.

I get that.

But for a holiday to be special, it does have to have a beginning and an end.  It has to have limitations.  Otherwise, the value fades as the holiday is stretched, and then you’re just left with a Christmas tree in August that you don’t care one way or the other about.

So for me to keep Christmas special, I start celebrating on December 1st and I go quite entirely Christmas-crazy until the end of the month.  And then I sadly pack away my Christmas treats and tinsel and music until the next December.  Designating a beginning gives me something to anticipate.  It gives me something to hold out for.  Giving it an ending makes every day feel more valuable. It makes the whole holiday special for me.

I’m trying very hard here not to be proscriptive about when Christmas begins.  All I’m saying is it deserves to be special and seeing Christmas ornaments in October does not make me feel particularly festive.

On a more positive note – IT IS DECEMBER! This means, I can go Christmas-crazy and make everyone slightly nervous as my kitchen erupts in festive baking adventures.  I can binge on Christmas music to my heart’s content.  I can shop and craft and revel.  It’s finally Christmas.

Christmas music, in particular, is something I hold very dear.  Part of the reason for that is because I’m only allowed to listen to it in December.  That means I wait eagerly and excitedly for that first day and then – oh then – I submerge myself in the most beautiful songs imaginable.  Christmas music – good Christmas music – is my favorite music.

I love traditional carols the most.  Yes, there have been some incredible new Christmas songs written.  But the old carols hold my heart.  So here’s one that I absolutely adore: The Wexford Carol.

It’s Christmas, people.  It’s Christmas.  I cannot contain my excitement, so I’ll just sit back and let the music tell me how magical, how compelling, how wonderful this time of year is.