Validating the wintertime spirit year-round

Christmas is more than just a holiday

Christmas begins on November 1.

Let me present my case to the jury: it gets colder (and therefore, more wintery), Target really starts putting out its seasonal decor, channel 73 on SiriusXM plays holiday tunes … the list goes on and on.

Yeah, sure, there’s probably a lot of you of debating turning the page right now, but I’m going to have to ask you to bear with me.

I’m sure many of you would like to remind me that there’s Thanksgiving somewhere between Halloween and the (real) holiday season.

Don’t get me wrong, I like cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes as much as the next girl, but have you ever driven down your street and seen all the houses decked out with a big blow-up turkey? As cool as that sounds, it’s not exactly the first item on everyone’s Amazon wish list.

I like to think of Thanksgiving as a warm-up round to the real deal. You get to practice being all jolly and morally righteous and such, and when December 25 rolls around, you can really cash out on the gifts and festivities.

Maybe I’m a little biased here; Christmas is my favorite holiday — I wish I could say I was joking about listening to my holiday playlist since April. But really, Christmas is something that you can enjoy year-round. It’s not exactly snowing in July, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in some Michael Bublé.

Maybe we do have the tendency to fixate too much on holidays, though. It can take a toll on our energy — and our wallets. I have yet to find another human being as dedicated to Halloween decorating as my dad (we have 11, three-foot-tall skeletons sitting in our garage — it’s getting a bit tight for the cars in there). All that aside, once the clock hits 12 a.m. after Halloween, you better believe I’m throwing on my Santa hat.

You might be thinking, “OK, fine. Be a Christmas freak all you want, but I’m not even religious,” or “I’m not Christian. No dice.”

Allow me to enlighten you for a second.

You don’t need to be religious at all to enjoy the holiday season. Like, at all. Though it is a Christian holiday, a great deal of Christmas cheer has absolutely nothing to do with its religious aspects.

If you do happen to be a Christmas nut, or you are religious, then good for you! If not, good for you, too! Whether you’re Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist or atheistic altogether, nobody is going to come after you for rockin’ around the Christmas tree or lamenting how cold it is outside.

Maybe it’s still obscenely early to be stringing colored lights around my front lawn, but like I said, it’s not the end of the world. Christmas is a lot more than just colorful boxes under a tree, and it sure is a lot more than just the first 25 days of December.

Christmas is laughing with friends, ice skating (although some of us aren’t as elegant on ice as others), enjoying the smell of pine trees and savoring the sweetness of peppermint. And most importantly, since I’m obligated to list something mushy lest I sound utterly shallow, it’s about finding joy in the little things and in one another. That’s also pretty cool, I think.