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Fragments and Holiday Cheer

As I write this, the rainy season has officially started in the Pacific Northwest. The leaves are changing color and falling into the gutters and people are remembering how to drive in the rain again. Autumn is my favorite time of year and Halloween is my favorite holiday.  But we only get to do this once a year.  If I put pumpkins out on my porch in the summer people will look at me funny. Next month we’ll become obsessed with finding the perfect turkey and getting the family together and after that we’ll go into Christmas madness.

While I was eating dinner tonight my husband mentioned how we talk about ghosts and tour haunted houses and become a little obsessed with the dead this time of year but when it’s over we’re supposed to forget and move on to the next holiday. We Americans seem to compartmentalize holidays and cram our happiness into certain months. Personally, I’m never jolly in December because I’m usually stressed or just tired.  Then February comes along and I’m supposed to be filled with love and yearn for flowers and chocolates.

That being said, I’m also one of those people that hates it when the holidays end and the lights and the decorations come down.  I’m not particularly fond of Christmas but I do like the lights. It gives me a brief moment of bliss when the days are short and the nights are long. I don’t like it when the lights and decorations come down. Now, it might be a little funny to see snowflake decorations in the summer, but hey! It’s no wonder so many people get depressed after the holidays.

A couple of years ago my husband and I strung a rope of lights around our living room window for Christmas and just never took them down.  At night we would sit on the couch with the blinky lights on and a fire in the fireplace and just relax. It made us happy. The same can be said when it comes to news.  Something devastating happens like a bunch of Chilean miners get trapped in a mine and we are concerned for a while until Linday Lohan gets let out of rehab and that story becomes “so 5-minutes” ago.

Instead looking for the quick fix or moment of bliss, I purpose we try to be more holistic throughout the year.  Let’s honor our dead all year, let’s honor our loved ones and partners all year round instead of in February. Let’s leave our blinky lights on and let’s remember the miners who could use our help or donations or just time.

Neil Gaiman had an interesting thought this week and posted on his blog about how we should give away horror books during Halloween instead of giving away candy. To me, this is a fabulous way to extending the holiday to more than just one or two days or a costume party. Read his “modest proposal” here.

I would like to know how YOU try and keep the “holiday spirit” alive throughout the year whether it’s keeping a little altar for loved ones for loved ones who have passed away, or giving to charities throughout the year, or maybe leaving your holiday lights up year round.


About Anna Alexander

I get ideas. I write things. I sometimes follow through with those ideas. I also run long distances and live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband cat who lets us pay the mortgage on his house.

2 responses »

  1. Our home has year round decorations for all the major holidays.At times we need to explain our reason….We’d leave for Arizona before halloween and return around Easter…..still decorated for Oct. 31st!! A small christmas tree on the fireplace,a large straw turkey,small heart shaped dish,a collection of 4th of July Santa’s etc….oh yes a bottle of Irish whiskey always available to celebrate with friends.It works for us!

  2. Garth here (the dear hubby), I have resolved to try to put up holiday lights appropriate to the season — (it’s darkish in my cul-de-sac and the extra lights are just plain nice to have) — I’m just not sure how to space those out… I had purple and orange up from mid oct thru just before Thanksgiving, The x-mas extravaganza is up now, so maybe just a string of plan white thru mid feb, then red, then green, then pastel. Not sure what to do with the gap between Easter and the 4th of July. (red being Valentine’s and green for St. Paddy’s day)

    We did just collect some hot pepper (red and shaped accordingly) lights for the back patio, proper party light for the year round here in the desert SW


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