By TMoM Team Member Laura Simon

I need to preface this with a bit of context: I am a strict believer that Christmas décor goes up the day after Thanksgiving. The same holds true for Christmas carols: not a note until Black Friday morning, however early that morning might be. I openly scorn stores that put their holiday décor out in July. I’m no Scrooge; I just tend to think that Christmas needs to be kept in its place.

This year? Under pressure from my six-year-old, I switched the car radio to Christmas music on November 1. On November 2, I popped Elf in the DVD player. I put up my tree on November 4. Two of them, actually. I ordered a second one in July in a supreme act of hope that the holiday season would actually get here before the world came to an end.

On November 11, the rest of the décor came out. I’ve strung at least one strand of battery-operated timer lights in every single room of the house. Santa perches on every shelf that will hold him. I dragged out the entire snowman collection while the temperature outside hovered near 80 and my air conditioning pumped away. Those poor snowmen would melt away, if not for climate control.

And I had no shame.

We ran into Santa at Harris Teeter. He’s the real thing: I’ve seen him at events before, but he maintains his look all year long. My youngest spotted him driving his (red, of course) minivan in the parking lot. He and Mrs. Clause (in her Halloween finest, because it was October 29) got out, asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas, made them promise to be good, and gave them reindeer trading cards. Santa was wearing a red shirt and black suspenders with his blue jeans, bless his commitment to the theme. He may be their only Santa meeting this year, and this may be one of the last years that they believe.

My kids were delighted, and in a year where they’ve seen virtually every predictable part of their lives altered beyond recognition, I will not apologize for the premature Christmas cheer. They’ve squealed with delight, dropped every breakable ornament I own, reminisced about all their favorite Christmas memories, and its still only November 15. It’s been glorious. I hope it goes like this until January 1, even if I gain another 20 quarantine pounds from all the cookies.

The big test of the season happened a few days ago in Hobby Lobby: my kids spotted the Rudolph antlers that attach to your car.

Now, I’m not going to pretend that my white Kia minivan – loving nicknamed The Tampon – is cool. But I’ve historically drawn the line at sticking a big red nose on its front grill.

This year, when the begging commenced, I responded, “What the heck? It’s 2020.” The woman waiting an appropriate six feet in front of me doubled over with laughter.

I think that’s my new life motto: What the heck? It’s 2020. If they want Christmas cheer, we’ll be the jolliest family this side of the nut house.

Maybe we’ll be the nut house. Who cares? It’s 2020.

Who wants to join us?

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