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“It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”—Agnes M. Pharo

This quote was written to reference Christmas; I looked it up. However, it could apply to almost any holiday. Easter? Absolutely. Memorial Day? No question. Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah? Completely. What holiday isn’t about tenderness, courage, and hope for the past, present, and future? OK, perhaps St. Patrick’s Day, at least the way many celebrate it, but as someone who is 100 percent Irish, I can say with certainty that it’s about all that and more. 

As we head towards colder weather and the holiday season, there is much to do. Many homes will host dozens of relatives, which involves cooking, cleaning and shopping. I am so glad that a good friend hosts Thanksgiving. All I have to do is show up with pies and some wine, and I’m good to go.

Much like so many other customs at this time of year, a friend of mine recently mentioned that no matter what, she would not turn the heat on in her house until Nov. 1. I get it; heating a home is expensive, and holding off can save you some money. In my house, it’s entirely different. I don’t care if we all have to eat hot dogs and boxed mac and cheese; I need my heat.

Unlike most women of my age, I do not have hot flashes. I am constantly cold; the struggle is real. So if I need to, I will turn my heat on in September. When I told people this, I did not expect the deluge of comments about the environment, my finances and politics. Guess what? It’s my house and my meager bank account. I’m in charge here.

However, the debate over when to turn the heat on pales compared to the discussion on when to start decorating for the holidays. That, my friends, is becoming the real war on Christmas. 

I will never understand why people get their panties in a wad over who decorates for what and when. One of my favorite Christmas carols goes like this: 

“For I’ve grown a little leaner, grown a little colder. 

Grown a little sadder, grown a little older. 

And I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder. 

Yes, I need a little Christmas now.” 

Remember Christmas of 2020? The world was in the midst of lockdowns and had been for months. Friends of mine were putting up their Christmas trees in September, and some of them kept them up well into 2021. Sometimes you need a little Christmas.

Even if your family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, it was a tough year; so many of us couldn’t wait for it to be over. If a few candles or other cheery bits helped you move through the end of what was truly an “Annus horribilis,” who cares what anyone else thinks? Many of our loved ones did not make it through 2020.

The following year, 2021, was barely a few days old when we all watched in horror as our democracy was attacked. We’ve now moved through the midterm elections and so much else.

Honestly, if you’re going to be mad about something, go right ahead, but holiday décor might not be where you want to put your energy. 

Are you in your own house? If so, do whatever the heck you want. It’s your house. Put a pumpkin on the table in January. Use the turkey tablecloth for as long as you want. Send valentines in September. Put a tree up in April, any tree you want, and keep it up all freaking year. Do you like Easter eggs? Hang ‘em up all year. Bonus points if you put them on a Christmas tree and hold an egg hunt in July.

No one gets to tell someone else how to celebrate anything. As we move into another holiday season, it’s important to remember that not everyone likes turkey, not everyone wants to put an inflatable Santa on their lawn, and not everyone wants to drink themselves silly on New Year’s Eve.

Some of us like purple trees and colored lights, others might want to hike out into the woods and chop down some unsuspecting Douglas fir and drag it home. It’s all good. Find something that matters to you and celebrate any time you want. Cheers!

We are delighted Brenda Kelley Kim has agreed to write a regular column for the Marblehead Current.  For over a decade, The Marblehead Reporter published her weekly column, “Not The Same Old Thing.” She is the author of “Sink or Swim: Tales from the Deep End of Everywhere.” She resides in town with her family and a snorty pug named Penny in a tiny cottage by the sea.

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