October is here, and Wisconsin has been whispering hints of fall the past couple weeks, which are now turning in to loud declarations of the season all around us. The trees are beginning to glow red and yellow, and the temperature is dropping. Halloween decorations are popping up all over the place, and midterms are looming on the calendar.
The changing season, for me, brings one thing to mind: Christmas. You’re all probably sitting there thinking, “Carlie, you’re a couple months early with that.” I was trying to figure out where my obsession with Christmas, and more specifically, Christmas music, comes from. My hometown is a little bit Christmas-obsessed. Boasting Hallmark Cards’ world headquarters, a Mayor’s Christmas Tree taller than those at Rockefeller Center and the White House and arguably one of the country’s most iconic displays of Christmas lights, we may be an overly Christmas-crazy city.
When I was younger, there were several radio stations that played non-stop Christmas music from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. This was so popular that, after a few years, they began starting the Christmas music three weeks earlier on Nov. 1. I would set my boombox (yes, I am a proud child of the 90s) to a Christmas station and fall asleep to the Yuletide crooning of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby. I vividly remember sitting in front of a dying fireplace several Halloweens in a row, eating candy, sipping on hot apple cider and counting down the minutes to midnight, when I could turn on the radio for some holiday cheer.
As I got older and packed up my boombox in favor of an iPod and computer, a world of possibility opened up to me. The beautiful invention of Pandora made it possible for me to listen to Christmas whenever I want. This is a dangerous tool to have at my fingertips. In recent years, I’ve started blasting Mannheim Steamroller as early as October, much to the dismay of my roommates and co-workers.
People ask me if I get burned out on it. I don’t. But I have noticed that I have lost a little bit of appreciation for fall and its beauty when I mentally skip ahead to winter and Christmas. So this year, I am going to try to wait. My far-reaching goal is to wait all the way until Thanksgiving to crank the Christmas, but I would be satisfied with myself if I could at least make it to the beginning of November.
I have heard that sharing your goals with others and writing them down gives you more motivation to follow through. So this is me, challenging myself to wait at least a month, if not more, before I give in and kick off the holiday season. I’ve written it down and shared it with all of you. So please, help hold me to this. I will take any suggestions for good autumnal tunes you have, and I will return to this subject in a few weeks and let you know if I accomplished my goal.
I know it is not going to be easy. As the Christmas season approaches, decorations and lights and store displays and radio stations will begin their inevitable early transition to Yuletide, tempting me with tinsel. Even just thinking about it as I wrote this column made me long to listen to carols. But I’m in for a challenge and willing to give it a try. And who knows, if I can accomplish this goal, what else could I do if I set my mind to it?