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When can we celebrate Christmas?

| Tuesday, November 8, 2016

When it comes to the holidays, the world is starkly divided into two groups: those who listen to Christmas music by the cozy fireplace while sipping on a peppermint mocha from their red holiday Starbucks cups on Nov. 1, and those who despise the aforementioned people. There is no in-between. I happen to fall into the first category and here’s why.

I love Thanksgiving. I love being surrounded by family and friends. I love the traditions of running in my hometown’s annual five-mile Drumstick Dash on Thanksgiving morning. I love coming home to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and smell the lovely aroma of pumpkin pie, stuffing and turkey cooking. I love being able to stuff my face with as much mashed potatoes and green bean casserole as humanely possible afterwards. I love it all.

However, many people think that by listening to Christmas music in early November, I must not care at all about Thanksgiving and want to gloss right over the season completely in favor of its bigger, older brother.

This is simply not the case.

I consider Thanksgiving to be just as big a part of the holiday season as Christmas, mainly because both seasons are about so much more than what is advertised. I know we hear this all the time, but the holidays truly are about more than just gift-giving and receiving. It’s about more than writing a list to Santa, picking out a Christmas tree, decorating cookies or trying to get the best deals while Black Friday shopping. Sure it’s nice to celebrate with themed movies, parties, decorations and food; but for me, the holidays are really about bringing people together.

Many movies poke fun at the whole “family” aspect of the holidays. They usually go something like this: an older couple is so excited to finally have their kids and their families all under one roof until they realize living with your family is hard. I can relate to this coming from a family of 29 aunts and uncles, over 60 cousins, 18 cousins-in-law and over 22 second cousins. Needless to say the holidays can get a bit hectic in my family, but that’s what makes me love Christmas even more. Christmas is the time when everyone returns; when I get to make up for lost time by talking to aunts and uncles I haven’t seen in a while.

I know this may seem a bit cliche but it’s true: The holidays bring me so much joy just from spending time with the people I love. Being away at college has only increased this desire for cozy nights spent sipping hot cocoa with my family while watching “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (which just so happens to summarize these “family” movies to a ‘T’). I celebrate Christmas early because I can’t wait to be reunited with the people I love most. No matter when you decide it’s socially acceptable to start celebrating Christmas, I think we can all agree one thing: It’s never too early to get excited about reconnecting with your family.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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