The Right to Lights

When Should Christmas Lights Really Be Put Up?

November 23, 2020

The rough and cold, 20-degree wind whistles outside of your cozy home. Meanwhile, as you hold your hot chocolate in your left hand and a sugar cookie in your right, you watch your favorite Hallmark movie–the one with all the sappy romance and corny comedy, highlighting the magical presence of the Christmas spirit. 

What you most love about this season is decorating the entire house with twinkling lights, glowing trees, stockings, candles and almost anything else that emanates “Christmas.” You decide to draw as much attention to your decorations as possible and order a group of light-up palm trees to place in your front yard. Glowing polar bears are placed on the ground, and you decide to bring all the decor together as you place a 20-ft inflatable Santa Claus on your balcony. To you, this is what Christmas is all about. 

Only one thing. It’s still October. Christmas is really over ten weeks away. Even so, you’re the only one on your street that has decorated their entire house. As you watch people walk by each day outside of your window, there is not a single person who doesn’t gawk or stop in their tracks to stare at the display of your decorations.

This is exactly what my family has experienced each year living in Greenwood, Indiana. Initially, we believed Christmas lights are the best to put up after Thanksgiving, but as time went on, our priorities changed. 

Realistically, the best time to put Christmas lights up is the beginning to mid-November when Thanksgiving is still approaching. If Christmas lights are put up within this period, it allows for a smooth and effortless transition into the Christmas season. The weather is warmer, and because of “fall back,” the early hours of darkness are eased by the glow of lights. Furthermore, Thanksgiving dinner will be enhanced by the subtle presence of Christmas which enables families to count their blessings even more. And who actually decorates solely for Thanksgiving?

In the future, you might also consider putting your lights up even earlier than November, specifically the days preceding Halloween, just as my family has recently done. Yes, this is extreme, but decorating before Halloween will allow as many trick-or-treaters as possible to witness the glory of your Christmas lights. Not only this, but if you’re not a fan of Halloween, putting your lights up earlier can advance the holidays you actually care about much more quickly.

Still, you should ask yourself, what do Christmas lights mean to you? Is it a way for you to express your creativity to the world? Do you find peace and joy witnessing each light glow when you turn it on? If so, put those lights up before Thanksgiving and give yourself more time to admire the aura that accompanies Christmas lights. 

In the end, don’t allow your neighbors or peers to judge you for how early or late you decide to display your Christmas decor, no matter how absurd they might appear. I take pride in the lights displayed throughout my home, even when it can feel embarrassing at times. What matters to me as these lights go up at the dawn of November is the warmth and gratification I feel from having the freedom to choose how and when my lights are seen by the world.

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