The Christmas Season: How early is too early?

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The “how early is too early?” Christmas season debate is on. Decorations are going up all around the Upstate. Do you think November decorations are too ambitious? How about Christmas music? What album is Alexa playing on repeat at your house? Here’s Kidding Around Contributor, Taryn, with her take on the early start to the holiday season.

An Amble with Gamble—a parenting column with Taryn Gamble
-Come take a stroll down memory lane with me-

I love the Christmas season. All the décor and holiday festivities make me positively giddy. I am not, however, in favor of all this early decorating. I genuinely adore Autumn and bringing in the Christmas spirit early tends to put me in a Winter state-of-mind. Now, if you like the feeling that Winter extends from November until mid-March, by all means.

I want to be clear, though: I honestly feel that you should do whatever brings you joy this season. If enjoying your artificial tree and garland for a full 2 months is the way to do that, be my guest. I don’t want to poo-poo on your stale holiday décor (Kidding, kidding).

For the record, I will be hauling my family out on Black Friday to cut our regal, fragrant tree directly from the earth—a tree that will fill our house with authentic aroma and holy tradition.

I thought for years that I was allergic to live evergreens, but two years ago, in a stroke of expensive chance, we tried out a real Southern Pine and boughs with no ill side effects! No turning back now!

My twinkling, genuine December décor. I can smell this picture.

That was also the year that I discovered the wonder of a live wreath. I don’t know what it is, folks, but that evergreen scent smacking your guests in the face at the front door is enough to make you swear off artificial greens for your remaining years.

At any rate, part of the early Christmas trend is the start of holiday music as soon as the jack-o-lanterns rot out. Again, not a fond participator until after Tom the Turkey has been packed up. My kids, however, in their youthful optimism, adore Christmas music and have begun requesting it already. I acquiesce because I’m equal-opportunity and encouraging like that.

In the beginning, I was slightly annoyed, but didn’t let on; I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. But, my, how the tables have turned. IDINA MENZEL. Are you hearing me right now? Her Christmas album has me sure that I’ll be caroling straight through 2022 with no end in sight. Granted, only my eldest, perfect Einstein of a child is regularly requesting that specific playlist, but I’m claiming any and all victories at this point.

My parents and grandparents are all professional classical musicians, however, so I grew up with traditional Christmas carols steeped in religious tradition. I don’t know what it is, but I still prefer them—there’s a beauty and nostalgia in carols for me that far exceeds my excitement over “Silver Bells” or “Frosty the Snowman.”

[SPEAKING OF FROSTY (indulge me), is not the best line of that entire movie when the children are tossing around name ideas for the snowman, and the little guy suggests “Oatmeal?” Oh my soul. Oatmeal! Maybe it’s just me, but I cackle out loud every single year. The whole movie peaks in that moment.]

I digress. Playlists and albums with just traditional carols are not as easy to locate as I would prefer, but we do our best. I don’t want my kids to grow up unfamiliar with some of the greats.

For example, right now, Alice, who is 3, has favorites.

  1. Joy to the World
  2. Silent Night
  3. Santa Baby

Just ignore that last concerning selection. She is young and not yet fully formed. Also, she does rather take on that Eartha Kitt tone when creating her Christmas lists. I see the parallels, for sure. Just a full-size medieval palace and a bright pink unicorn fleet? Don’t set your sights so low, sweet girl.

The other night, she was singing along to “The 12 Days of Christmas” in the van when I realized she was singing:

“Two Turtle Dumps, and a Partri-idge in a Peeaar Treeeeeeee”

Turtle dumps. This is a new one. Can you imagine your lover sending you two turtle dumps as your second gift of the season? This is after sending you a defecating bird to care for. Worst lover ever.

(Unless, perhaps, you’re a marine biologist. Then, perhaps, that could be a valued commodity.)

Cecily, Alice, and Sullivan chirping out “Jingle Bells”

Sullivan, my 6-year-old, really enjoys all the options—secular and sacred—but struggles with lyrics on many of them. “Jingle Bells” is one Christmas song which he’ll belt out with confidence, though. One of my favorite lyrical reinventions he is unwittingly singing right now is:

“Bells on cocktails riiiiinnngg
Making spirits briiiiight.
What fun it is to ride and siing
A sleighing song tonight, OHHH”

We can all agree that jingling cocktails during a winter sleigh ride would definitely brighten the spirit, am I right? Far superior to bobtails! And the double word-play of spirit . . . really brilliant, Sullivan. Bravo. Love your philosophy here.

All in all, I’m not regretting my decision to allow for early Christmas music in the least. Can you blame me? What a salve these children are to my pre-mature holiday soul. May we embrace all the turtle dumps and cocktails this season whenever they come my way.

Ready to celebrate the season? Find all the fun on our Holiday Guide to Greenville.
Or, our Holiday guide to Columbia, SC.

About the Author
Taryn Gamble lives in a big blue fixer-upper in Piedmont, SC with her four kids, an adorable Holland Lop bunny, and an endless list of chores. When not baking snickerdoodles, she prefers to be barefoot outside, instilling a love of learning in her kids.

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Sandra Barrett
3 years ago

Taryn, I love reading your stories. You are a great writer and a wonderful momma. Have wonderful Thanksgiving. 💙

Taryn Gamble
3 years ago
Reply to  Sandra Barrett

Thank you so much! They are a joy to write.