Photo illustration by Andrew Chase

The time of year when the weather starts to get colder and colder quicker as the days become shorter and shorter is finally upon us. As the holiday season begins to approach us, I have been starting to reflect on my year. This past year has been an extremely different year to say the least but I always try to find ways to bring happiness and joy to others

.During this time, every single year I always find myself asking the same centuries old question over and over again; when is the proper time to put up holiday decorations for the inevitable holiday season?

During last November, I found myself asking that same question. In my young, spry, and very uncultured self, I thought I had finally found the answer to the question that had been gnawing at me for the entirety of my angsty teenage years.

Within all of that edgy and anti-establishment energy I produced, I thought that November 1 was too early for holiday decorations. The answer I produced a year ago has changed drastically over a period of a single year. Now I think that November 1 is absolutely an okay time to put up holiday decorations.

My opinions on this subject changed within this past year because of a variety of different reasons. My first reason for my change of stance is that over the past year I started to realize what I wanted to do after I graduate from Keene State College, I want to study the flora and fauna that reside within Taiga or Tundra biomes. For those who do not know what a Taiga biome or Tundra biome are, they are essentially very frigid environments of the world. I think that snow goes hand-in-hand with the word frigid and that the holiday season goes hand-in-hand with snow. So when I started to think about this topic, it eventually made me think about the holidays and how much they mean to me.

My second reason as to why I now think that putting holiday decorations up on November 1 is okay is because once I returned home from college for winter break, I realized just how much I missed by being away at college. I never thought that I would miss the comforting embrace of a hug from a family member or an old friend. For me, the time of year where I would become the furthest from my family and friends would be around the holiday seasons. I realized exactly what I have been missing for the past 18 years of my life when I returned home for winter break and my family called me out for being antisocial around the joyest times of the year. Their call outs made me completely realize that Christmas was more than just a time of gifts and Coca-Cola bearing Santa Clauses. It made me realize that the holiday season was about having spirit and being joyous and spending time with family and friends.

Yet, I learned that having the holiday spirit is a huge part of getting into the holiday season vibe. I didn’t truly think the holiday spirit existed until I went to Winter Celebration at Keene State College. When I walked through the doors into the student center atrium, which was completely decked out in a ton of festive decorations, and saw all of the different student involvement organizations holding tons of events throughout the building. Alongside all of these events were students with the biggest smiles on their faces and the feeling of pure joy radiating off of them. I then witnessed what the true holiday spirit looked like with my own two eyes.

After I went through all of these different experiences and realizations, I finally discovered that the holiday season can start whenever someone is in the mood where family, friends, and loved ones become the closest to each other and at least one person begins to feel that tingly feeling inside of them waiting to burst out in a blast of joy and happiness.

I completely agree with putting up holiday decorations on November 1 but I still absolutely do not condone playing any sort of Christmas music in a public setting before Thanksgiving. I feel this way because I completely understand the struggle of working in retail and hearing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on a seemingly endless repeat. I have worked in retail for the most part of three years at this point so I know just how mad this song can drive a person to. I feel like hearing “Frosty the Snowman” and “Jingle Bell Rock” over and over again only further irritates retail employees, especially during this hectic and unknown time.

Although the holiday season is normally a time to reconnect with friends, family, and loved ones, there is a massive obstacle that will be a major nuisance to everyone this year. This obstacle that I’m talking about is of course the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has been sweeping throughout the entire globe like wildfire. As everyone should know at this point, the virus spreads through close contact with others. So inherently this disrupts many peoples holiday traditions of gathering with family and friends but we don’t have to completely lose those special traditions because of the pandemic.

Even though it may seem that this holiday season is ruined, with the proper safety precautions, it can be an extremely memorable year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the CDC for short, has released recommendations for what people should consider when hosting or participating in small and large gatherings. The CDC recommends that people should host celebrations virtually because it has the lowest risk for spreading COVID-19. I am still unsure how much I like this option.

On one hand I personally feel like hosting celebrations virtually will not have the same charm as being together in person. It doesn’t help that I am not a fan of any virtual meeting because of my experiences with having classes over Zoom helped tarnish the novelty. Yet on the other hand I completely understand that it can be incredibly dangerous to have close contact with people from other households. This can be especially risky when many people give hugs and affection to their loved ones often during the holiday season.

In my opinion, I would have to take the safe option of having celebrations over Zoom rather than in person rather than risk getting the virus.

 

Andrew Chase can be contacted at:
opinions@kscequinox.com