At long last, December is here, which means, yes, Christmas time has finally arrived, and not a moment too soon for many in the area.

As usual, actually, quite a few people tried to get in on the action far earlier than necessary or conducive to sanity. There were those who started decorating right after Thanksgiving, which seemed far more egregious this year when we still had an entire week of November left.

There were those who started hanging tinsel and lights as soon as Halloween bid all the ghouls and goblins farewell, because apparently there’s no room for turkey and dressing when Santa Claus is on his way.

And then there are those who seem to never stop celebrating Christmas — the ones who leave their trees up year-round, or trot out the holiday decor in the summer heat for one of those all-too-ironic Christmas in July shindigs.

There are people on my Facebook feed who have been counting down the days until the next Christmas almost literally since the clock first hit Dec. 26 last year.

I get it. Christmas is a wonderful time of year — the most wonderful time of the year, as some would have it — and trying to lay claim to that feeling of peace on earth and good will toward men (and women for those who value inclusive language) is a natural reaction.

But there has to be a way to try and maintain the warm and fuzzy feelings of the holidays without literally trying to extend the holiday all the way to the end of time.

One of the reasons Christmas remains such a special time for many of us, after all, is its relative scarcity. For one month out of the year, we embrace the sincerity and joy of the Christmas season, and then it’s gone again, disappearing in a flurry of snow and leftover cookie crumbs from Santa’s plate.

Few of us are designed to stay festive all year long, and while those who can are probably happier people than the rest of us, it shouldn’t mean they can shove Christmas down our throats in the middle of September, either.

But all of that is moot, now, for with the changing of the calendar page, we can finally embrace that Christmas spirit en masse, without any worries of being too early or jumping the gun.

George Walton Academy has already kicked off on its own Christmas season, with a Gingerbread Christmas event Saturday, but I got an early look at all the seasonal fun as one of the judges of the school’s Deck the Halls for Denim event.

Every hallway and building on the sprawling campus was decorated by a different grade or department, producing a mosaic of Christmas fun patterned after holiday movies, books and other cultural artifacts.

Finding myself wandering through the environs of Candy Land or meeting “Buddy” the elf was pretty fun, though I was disappointed no one was there to accept my 5 cents at Lucy’s psychiatric help booth on the “Charlie Brown Christmas” hall.

But it was delightful to see all the hard work and imagination the kids had put into making these hallways a reality and it’s hard to think of a better way to get into the Christmas spirit here at the beginning of the season.

For the next month, we can all enjoy the holidays in our ways, whether it involves light displays visible from orbit or sitting down in front of the TV for a three-week marathon of Christmas specials.

However we celebrate, let us all remember to keep the spirit of Christmas alive, as Scrooge himself said: “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

Just not, you know, literally.

News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

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