I purchased my tree on the 3rd... of November
I bought my flimsy plastic Christmas tree at a Target outlet on the 3rd of November. The handler seemed surprised when I came to the layaway counter and he read off my order from his digital pad:
"Peck, OK, right. I have you down for... A Christmas tree?"
It's a common enough criticism that holiday celebration starts far too early, and with good reason.
Lights are left up and running on porches and awnings all year.
Poor holiday music covers are hummed in grocery aisles round about July, to the chagrin of everyone nearby.
Chain outlet stores seem to print and hang red and green promotional banners long before an autumn chill really even descends.
Christmas becomes commercialized, stuffed down our throats. We've heard it all before.
Speaking for myself, though, I've never minded the early celebration. I live far from Riverton, the place I still consider my home despite being away for all but a few months out of the past four years.
One of the few periods I return for any stretch of time is Christmas.
I can count on being around for weeks, then, and the town looks and feels great: snowflakes on streetlamps, the smell of smoke, elaborate and well-coordinated displays of decorations too immense to be maintained on any but the specialist of occasions (that's right, I said "specialist").
I don't want to take this too far, but I almost get choked up even seeing the "Nachos Navidad" sign up at Taco John's as I drive up West Main my first night home.
So how much should we really complain about seeing glowing, colorful things hanging from trees and roofs a little earlier?
What's the problem? The chance to buy candy canes in bulk?
I'll admit it: I bought my tree in November, and I took it home and looked forward to putting it up. I didn't do it until a few weeks later, but the thing was assembled and lit at least a week before Thanksgiving. The holiday music came out Dec. 1, as did a chocolate advent calendar and a bunch of little red bows tied all over the doorknobs and window latches.
Last week, I baked 200 Christmas cookies for my classmates, and bagged them up nicely for people to take home. They'll be stale and inedible long before the 25th, so everyone will have to open and eat them much earlier, allowing me to draw even more people into my premature celebration.
And when I'm home, I'll be walking and driving around often taking in the nice lights. Look for me--I arrived today, and I'm probably already out sightseeing tonight. It may not be very hip of me, but I'm going to enjoy this holiday for as long as I can.
Deal with it, Scrooges.
Editor's note: Riverton native Robert H. Peck graduated recently from Yale University. He is a graduate student in the Iowa Writers Wokshop at the Univerity of Iowa.