Reflection: Ho Ho Hold Up — it was just Halloween

Lucie Morton ’26 reflects on the merry season.

by Lucie Morton | 11/2/22 2:20am

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by Hannah Li / The Dartmouth

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, or at least the temperature this morning did. Today is November 2, which for many people indicates that we are already one day into the Christmas season. But when does the season really start? Many are in the camp that the Christmas season goes on far too long, but do these scrooges have a point? 

Personally, I love Christmas. It has always been my favorite holiday, not only because of the presents and the merry cheer, but also because it has always been family-focused for me. Don’t get me wrong, all the consumerist trappings of Christmas have me in their claws, and you can tear peppermint and eggnog out of my cold, frostbitten hands. But Christmas has always meant more than just torn wrapping paper and gift receipts to me: As a child of divorce — who spends every other holiday switching on and off between parents — Christmas is the one day I get both. 

Every year, I have to ask myself, whose house am I at? Is it Dad’s Thanksgiving or Mom’s? But on Christmas, we split the holiday by the hours. Before Christmas, there are two weekends spent picking out two Christmas trees, shorter and wider for my mom’s and tall and skinny for my dad’s — or, when he forgets, just a shrub (a Charlie Brown Christmas tree if you will, really just a half-dead bush from outside the house) chosen over FaceTime because I was at boarding school and my sister in College. 

My aunt and uncle’s annual “Nog-and-Nails” party kicks off the season, and then on Christmas Eve-Eve, my sister, mom and I absolutely must watch “Eloise at Christmastime.” It’s the pinnacle of Christmas movies, with the honorable mentions to “The Holiday,” “Barbie: A Christmas Carol” and every god-awful Countdown to Christmas Hallmark movie. 

Yes, this is a definitive list. 

Though normally it’s days that are split, for Christmas, we divide the holiday by the hours. Christmas Eve is with mom’s family, and Christmas morning at Mom’s until we drive an hour and half (or worse, because it’s Christmas on I-95) to Dad’s for the rest of the day. Once the rest of my dad’s family descends, we have Christmas dinner — and most important of all, Boxing Day. 

As you can probably tell, Christmas is a chaotic and elongated production in my household. Despite its constant back-and-forth, though, I cherish the holiday season. 

But does all this stretching it out lessen its meaning? Although I love Christmas, is it right to hear jingle bells on the radio in early November? Here’s how I see it: From March to August, it’s perfectly acceptable to do Christmas-related activities because the weather makes it ironic, and yes, the peak time for off-season Christmas is July.  

If you’re now wondering, “Lucie, do you happen to have a Christmas in July playlist?” Yes, yes I do. 

And if anyone wants recommendations or the link, I will happily oblige. 

The season we’re in now is what I’d call the gray zone. Here in Hanover, we’re past peak foliage, but pre-snow. It’s what Noah Kahan would call “stick season.” Add in the fact that no Dartmouth students will be here for actual Christmas, and you’ve got a real conundrum. We could always celebrate once we get back — after all, the 12 days of Christmas aren’t over until January 5, the second day of winter classes. But something about that feels off, too.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the complication that comes with Dartmouth’s Winterim. It will be my first regular holiday season at home after four years of boarding school, when I’d look up from cramming for exams in my dorm, and suddenly it would be December 20, without even a twinkle of tinsel to be yet seen. So let’s let Christmas come early this year. 

With HalloHocoWeekend officially over and finals looming, some parts of Dartmouth are already gearing up for the season. GDXmas and TDXmas are on the horizon. So why fight the holiday spirit? 

I know some Christmas haters and/or purists may rail against welcoming the holiday a little soon this year, but what is Christmas without a little family fight? Christmas, and the holidays in general, hold a different meaning for everybody, and the iconic red, white and green might not warm up everyone’s hearts the same. 

But to me, it’s not just going to be the light at the end of the finals week tunnel. Christmas to me is the Washington Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker, Peppermint Cones from Trader Joes, real — and by real I mean raw-egg real — eggnog, ugly Christmas sweaters and Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider. It’s cousin gift swaps, Michael Buble’s “Santa Baby” (please give it a listen, it’s horrific), crushed peppermint on vanilla ice cream for Christmas Eve dessert, oranges and Toblerones as stocking stuffings and Christmas crackers. 

So commence the Holiday spirit and crank up the Eartha Kitt, because Santa Claus is coming to town.

Correction appended (Nov.3, 4:32 p.m.): This article has been updated to correct an inaccuracy.

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