On November 7th, our neighbors put up outside Christmas decorations. So far, there is a giant lit-up Snoopy from The Peanuts and some lights on their tree and bushes.
The weather in Chicagoland this past weekend was actually gorgeous — 70 degrees and sunny. It was definitely an opportune time for such a task.
But my husband commented to me a few days later, “What the actual heck? Why do they have their Christmas decorations up so early?” And I responded, “It’s 2020. People need to do whatever makes them happy at this point.”
Our Halloween looked very different this year. I have many indoor decorations that rotate through the seasons, including some specifically for Halloween. But as a household, we have never ventured much into outside decorating. Mostly because it seems like a lot of work.
But every year when we go trick-or-treating, my kids beg for us to up our game when they see other houses with giant dangling skeletons, lit up pumpkins, and doors that look like monster faces. Every year I sidestep and say, “Well, it’s too late this year…. maybe next year.”
Turns out, “next year” became 2020 in our house.
We decided pretty early in the season that we would not be trick-or-treating. With coronavirus cases in our area, we didn’t feel comfortable having our kids go up to houses. With the chance that the person opening the door would not wear a mask (even though we would be masked), it seemed too risky. We explained this to our kids, and they were disappointed.
To help get over the disappointment, we tried to find other ways to celebrate. I got some of those foam graves for the front yard, as well as plastic skeletons, to “come out of the ground” and spiderwebs to cover our bushes.
We came up with an indoor plan for trick-or-treating. Each person got a budget of $25 to decorate one room in the house and buy candy. We then “trick-or-treated” each other’s rooms. I took videos of the completed rooms and posted them on Facebook, inviting friends to vote for their favorite. The kids had a blast and still got a variety of candy.
The weekend after, the Halloween decorations came down. But the Christmas decorations are not going up.
My supply of indoor Christmas decorations is massive. I have totes and totes of decorations. I grew up in a 100-year-old farmhouse, and my mom used to put up so many decorations that the house looked like pages out of the Christmas Pottery Barn catalog.
With the house always so beautiful, it felt like I was surrounded by the season. This carried into adulthood, and I even bought Christmas decorations for my college apartment when I likely should have been buying things like food. My collection grows every year.
At the same time, I am usually sick of the decorations after a few weeks and just want my house back.
We put the decorations up the day after Thanksgiving, a tradition in our house. And they come down on New Year’s Day.
By that point, I start to feel a bit stifled and long to return to the “normalcy” in our house. I’m tired of Christmas music. I’m definitely sick of our Elf on the Shelf.
And in past years we are so busy at Christmas. While this year will be different, the decorations are usually a reminder that Christmas is a nonstop parade of gatherings, special events, and holiday treats. By January 1st, I’m exhausted and ready to say goodbye until the following year.
So while we made adjustments for Halloween and ramped up our efforts, I think Christmas this year will be taking a step back. Fewer activities. Definitely more time at home.
We won’t be gathering with family or friends outside of our household due to the risks of COVID-19. The cold weather of the Midwest is going to force us inside.
Knowing that we will be at home *all the time* is all the more reason to keep our Christmas decorating to the schedule we’ve had for more than a decade. Otherwise, I might be ready to burn everything by January.