By Andrea Arnold

When is too early to start decorating for Christmas?

This is a question that everyone seems to have their own answer to, and although it may be the unpopular opinion, I don’t believe there is a one size fits all answer, but I am 100 per cent sure that early decorating does not cause early snowfalls.

The most common statement I hear is that it isn’t right to decorate before Remembrance Day because some people feel that it takes away from the significance of the day. However, I have heard from veterans in the past that it doesn’t bother them to see lights up before November 11th. They fought for people’s freedom, and that includes the freedom to decorate early.

For other people, the Christmas decorations are hauled out the moment the last ghost or goblin has rung the doorbell on October 31. Halloween decorations come down and the lights and holly go up.

I find that when the days start to get shorter and the nights longer and colder, the glow of Christmas lights can help brighten my spirits. I lived in a basement for several years in Calgary before moving back here. I started turning on Christmas lights strung around my living room to help combat the doldrums. I even invested in an artificial Christmas tree so that I could leave it up a lot longer than a real tree would last. (One year it stayed up till June – I know, a little excessive). Usually actual decorations are up for a shorter time but my lights, they are long term fixtures.

There are practical reasons for getting lights up and starting to decorate early. Temperature for example. It is way more pleasant to put your yard lights up and still be able to feel your fingers than waiting until there is snow on the ground and freezing temperatures.

In the overall busyness of the season, I have found that if I put it off until December, I feel rushed. The days fill up and all of a sudden Christmas is just around the corner and the decorating becomes another chore, not an enjoyable experience. The season can get so rushed that having that aspect taken care of earlier may allow one to slow down a little and enjoy the brightly coloured fruits of their labour.

Some families have their own personal reasons for decorating early. Maybe they have family that are unable to visit closer to Christmas so they are celebrating early. Maybe they have a sick family member that may not be with them on December 25th. Maybe they are like me, and need to feel the warmth of the season as the days get colder.

On the other hand, there are others whose tradition is to put up lights and the tree when the kids get off of school, or when that last family member arrives for the holiday. There are those who feel like the Christmas season has become too commercialized and they limit the days their decorations are up so that it remains a special experience each year.

The same goes for the other side of December 25th.

I know people who take down decorations on Boxing Day, and others that have the goal of January 1st for their de-decorating day. Again, there may be reasons for people to have lights and decorations up longer.

It is the season where people are more likely to extend grace and love, let us extend that to decorating habits as well. Or, just enjoy your own traditions and leave others to their own.