Categories Uncategorized Here’s Where the Holidays Begin Post author By John Scalzi Post date November 26, 2016 29 Comments on Here’s Where the Holidays Begin After Thanksgiving, with our daughter decorating the tree. Share: By John Scalzi I enjoy pie. View Archive → ← New Books and ARCs, 11/25/16 → Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide 2016, Day One: Traditionally Published Books 29 replies on “Here’s Where the Holidays Begin” My gosh you’re ahead of the game. We rarely obtain our tree before the winter solstice, and very often we trim it on Christmas Eve. Glad you’re enjoying those moments, something to really be thankful about. Here’s to hoping you have several years where she brings friends home from school. That’s just as festive. I love Christmas. It’s my favourite holiday of the year. However, in order to prevent yuletide fatigue, I quarantine Christmas into the month of December. For the most part. I may have already experimented with some new Christmas baking recipes to see if they’re worth including in my carb-fueled bacchanalia. On December 1st, you will find me kicking off the Christmas season with a viewing of Die Hard, and cracking open a new bottle of scotch. Christmas decorations will emerge the Saturday following. That is so cute! How fun! We’re putting up our tree today too. Quarantine Christmas? We actually have Thanksgiving early so we can put up our tree the day before Thanksgiving. Partly because I’m a school teacher and am very busy after we go back to school on Monday, but also because I love Christmas and having the decorations and tree up. We keep it going until after Jan. 1st. I can’t bring myself to put up Christmas decorations before December 1st, so that’s when they’ll all go up. We usually get a real tree, so that will come later as well (hopefully around mid-December, so we can have it up for at least two weeks before Christmas). The wife’s birthday is December 12th, and mine is the 21st. The tree usually gets put up and decorated somewhere between those dates depending on our work schedule. Looks like you’re having fun. Congrats on the shout-out (or whatever you call it in print) in the latest 538 chat on the Trump era. Even though I wish humans would stop reproducing for a few decades, I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday together (whatever you call it). I used to love Christmas; but I hate the commercial forces that have smeared a vague “holiday season” across the last three months of the year; mostly I hate the pressure to make it all about buying things. Screw that; just focus on being nice to people. Peace on Earth; goodwill; worth a try. My daughter’s birthday is December 3rd so we traditionally do the Christmas decorations right after her birthday. She usually talks about what she wants to do for her birthday and then ends the sentence with “and then get out the Christmas stuff.” Priceless… No Christmas tree for me this year. I am going to Europe for the holiday. Some friends may join me, but chances are it will just be me. Christmas in Madrid. I have to say though, this picture fills me with joy. It does make me miss the house filled with my nephews, the tree decorated in my parents’ family room, the kids chasing the dog (and blaming the dog for knocking over the tree), the rush to open gifts Christmas eve before the fondue, and the roast beast on Christmas Day. Hope you have a lovely holiday, Scalzi family. Looks like you have a good start on it. How do you keep your cats out of the tree trimmings and the decorations in general? Trees et. al. have gone by the wayside in our house, because even two older cats still go ballistic over ornaments, tinsel, lights, and anything that can a. start a fire, b. give them a trip to the vet, or c. be destroyed and make a mess. This seems to be replicated in almost every household that has felines, from our informal survey. Good point, librarian. I decorate as though I had toddlers; anything breakable or chewable or shiny goes high up. They still go for the tinsel, but I found tin tinsel, so they can’t eat it. So far they dont chew cords. Smear siracha on them? My cats don’t climb the tree; I am not sure why not, but I am not complaining! Are there any other pet-proofing suggestions out there? I have a paper enthusiast who will try to open gifts, should anyone have any ideas on how to deter him. Owned by 2 felines for 16 years, so some experience… My tree is attached to the ceiling (I have a nice hook the colour of the paint and use fishing line so it isn’t obvious). I occasionally have to rehang the odd bauble, but nothing worse than that. Anything breakable is higher than 3′, no tinsel on the tree (mine don’t eat it, but it is the most desirable bedding available, and they pull it off and sleep in it), nothing edible or chewable. I get a real tree, and one of them does like to sleep in it if there is a suitable conjunction of branches, but as the tree is secure I just rearrange the decorations once he has selected his perch. Presents with bows or trailing fastenings are kept in a box until Christmas eve. [touches wood] no decoration related disasters to date! I also had friends whose Christmas tree is a holly – much harder for decorations to get pulled off and the glossy leaves look incredible – much safer with their dogs. Our holidays begin with Thanksgiving dinner, which moves directly into Black Friday (which we make a family affair), and then when the shopping is done I put up the lights and the tree. Later, my wife will decorate it. When that’s done, we’ll enjoy a glass of Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider while one of those fireplace DVDs plays in the background. It’s coming into Chrimble time, and I have to try and figure out the best time to do the Christmas present baking. This is a tricky bit of timing to try and finesse in this most recent rental place, because the kitchen here isn’t very well ventilated, and the stove radiates heaps of heat. So I have to find the coolest day which is closest to December 25, so I can do a whole heap of baking (this year it’s going to be shortbread all the way, I think) and not get boiled alive myself. (Context for those who are unaware: I’m in Australia, it’s coming into summer here – temperatures in the high 30s C are already starting to become a regular Thing). As it should be. I have a strong aversion to shopping in any store that puts out Christmas or other holiday decorations before Thanksgiving. As you might imagine, this keeps me from shopping in many stores, and not to my detriment. ;-) I nice picture. Will put up tree and other decorations next weekend. They will stay up until the Feast of the Epthanity or Kings Day when Carnival season starts and we have our first King Cake party of the season! finally bit the bullet and purchased an artificial “pre-lit” tree. Man is it way easier. A big ol’ WORD to Manuel Royal’s comment about consumerism at this time of year. It doesn’t usually get viciously hot here – I’m on the other side of Aus from where Megpie is – but enough to make baking onerous, unless it coincides with a southerly change. About the cat versus tree problem. I received a fibre-optic tree many years ago as a gift, a small tabletop model in a pot. It is still doing yeoman service. The lighting is mostly enclosed in perspex baubles and the foliage is green plastic, and I’ll hang mini candy canes and additional ornaments on it. None of this interests my cat one bit, but if I’m standing near the tree, she’ll hop up and rub her chin against a nice scratchy branch. When you put up the tree isn’t the principal question. The principal question is: is Athena wearing Christmas-tree deelyboppers, or is that just an artifact of the angle of the photo? I expect she is, and congratulate you on having one of the best daughters in the world. Good to see Tom Tomorrow’s avatar Sparky represented on your (new) shelves. He’s one of the good guys and has been for decades now; I got to meet him in the early ’90s when I was on the edit staff of an alt-weekly that published his comic. Is that Bigfoot on the TV? Love the photo of your beautiful daughter and her seasonal headgear! I hope she had loads of fun decorating, and that you had an equal amount of fun watching her enjoy herself. While I generally try to avoid getting out holiday decor before Thanksgiving, this year is an anomaly in that regard. I’m scheduled for surgery the second week of December, so I’ve been pushing to get everything holiday-related done early this year. The second weekend of November was sunny with temps in the mid-50s, which is highly unusual in this region, so I took the opportunity to hang up the outdoor decorations at that point (though we didn’t turn them on until Thanksgiving day). Then our family’s Thanksgiving celebration this year happened on Saturday, which left Thursday wide open and unscheduled, so I dragged the tree, lights and decorations down from the attic and got them all set up that day. I’ve been gradually accumulating holiday gifts since last summer, and at this point they’re all wrapped and ready to go under the tree. Just have to be sure my spouse knows where they’re all stashed. We usually decorate over Thanksgiving weekend but since I had a flu-like virus we’re behind. Merry Christmas to all! Athena’s alien deelie-boppers are cute! We stubbornly cling to the idea that the only valid Christmas tree is a live (well, severed and dying) one you pick out from a lot illuminated by strings of incandescent bulbs hanging from dodgy wiring in the freezing cold. (The freezing cold part is actually optional since we live in North Carolina and the December weather is, shall we say, variable). We also want to do it with everyone here, but it’s getting harder and harder to get the kids together, since one’s in grad school and one’s working long retail hours to save money for grad school. But we have faith that it’ll happen. Hey, it’s Christmas, the time of miracles. I’m glad that for you it is the Holidays; this year I can’t stop thinking of it as the Phony War. Colonel, hope the surgery goes well, and Christmas finds you recovering contentedly. 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