Let’s go back. Way back. All the way back to the first week of September of this year. My dad and I ventured to Costco, store of bulk items, and I found myself staring at aisles (not aisle, but aisles) of Christmas decor. A short rack of Halloween costumes hung, untouched, disregarded behind the giant, blown-up Snow Man and a lit up Santa in Reindeer Sleigh.

It was September. Early September, too! And I could not understand how rich men and women in tall buildings are so money hungry that they were willing to start selling Christmas at a preposterous time of year, stripping the season of whatever non-commercialized spirit it has left.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and for me, that’s when the holiday season truly starts. It isn’t until after Thanksgiving that I’ll start looking for things that remind me of this special time of year. Like smoke from a chimney, the scent of cinnamon, and twinkly lights adorning trees at the local mall. That is when I’ll wear my scarves and use snowflake-colored eye shadow. I’ll watch “A Christmas Story” on TBS, make hot cocoa, and listen to Amy Grant’s Christmas album from 1992.

My first goal is to afford an actual Christmas tree. I won’t wait until a week before Christmas to get one. If I can get one by the first day of December, I’ll be happy. It’s something I want to continue to appreciate and look forward to. Not as something commercialized and meaningless, like so many corporations have been doing in the last decade or two.

I decided a long time ago that if I can help it, I want to make every Christmas memorable, by doing something different every time. I am interested in memories, not a lot of gifts wrapped underneath the tree. I don’t mind if that’s what other people look forward to, but that’s just not for me. I like the stuff the precedes Christmas.

Something my brother and I would always do was dance in the spare living room of our old house to the last track of that Amy Grant album. We would play it over and over until we were out of breath and needed a break. But it was so much fun, I’ll never forget that feeling.

The other thing I loved to do was play with the miniature train that looped around the Christmas tree. It would produce a small tuft of smoke and I can still remember the way it made the room smell over time. I could play with that train for hours, placing my collection of Sylvanian teddy bear figurines in different train cars, waiting to see how long it was before they fell out.

Memories are what matter to me. I am tired of Christmas being overly commercialized, making the entire season stale and dry by the time December 25th actually arrives.

Let me put it this way. I would rather import my own snow and build my own snow man than buy one that can be set on a timer and blows up with air in my front yard. Snow is snow – it can’t be replaced with air and plastic.

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