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File photo | The Sheridan Press

Driving around town, scrolling through social media and chatting with friends, it seems many families have opted for an earlier than usual start to the holiday season.

Each person I’ve spoken with about the trend had different reasons for the change, but most examples centered around a couple different rationales. Here’s a quick glimpse at their train of thought.

• The year 2020 has included a lot of pain. So why not extend the season of cheer?

It’s difficult to argue the hardships of this year. COVID-19 has created all sorts of change in our worlds, very little of which has been celebrated. I don’t know many people who like wearing masks, social distancing or limiting travel. Plus, the virus has brought pain, suffering and loss — physical, mental and financial.

Therefore, the idea is that by beginning the holiday season a little early, the remainder of the year can include some of the joy, harmony and peace that comes with it.

• Fall has included warm weather ideal for outdoor decorating.

While we had a few snowstorms move through the area, the weather reaching into the 60s in mid-November has been a treat. The mild temperatures have meant families have more time to comfortably decorate their homes and yards with winter and holiday themes. Whether that means hanging the lights without worrying about the ladder slipping on the ice or enjoying those inflatables a few extra weeks — the warm weather has provided the opportunity to put a little extra time into those festive touches.

• The time spent decorating can create fond family memories.

This is likely true no matter when you begin decorating, but since many of us are feeling a little alone or disconnected this year, the early start to decorating could help bridge the gap. Spending quality time with your family — no matter how big or small — can help restore those feelings of togetherness. You can share a few laughs, debate whether Christmas trees should have tinsel or garland (or both) and share memories of past holiday celebrations while sharing what you’re thankful for this year.

• It gives you the perfect excuse to watch sappy holiday movies.

It just doesn’t feel right if you don’t turn on some Christmas tunes or a cheesy holiday movie while you’re decking the halls. So if you’re feeling the urge to begin the seasonal binge watching early, decorating provides the perfect opportunity to do so. Tune into “White Christmas” and sing about snow with Bing Crosby or dream about a late-night train ride to the North Pole while singing about hot chocolate. Whatever your style, don’t shy away from the singalongs.

Normally, when the holiday season gets too early of a start, people roll their eyes and bemoan the commercialization of the holidays. This year, though, you hear less of that. Folks just want to feel all the warm fuzzies the holidays provide.

So soak it in, break out the classics and head up the mountain to fetch your Christmas tree while the weather is fine.

Kristen Czaban has worked with The Sheridan Press since June 2008, moving to Wyoming after graduating from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She covered a wide range of beats before becoming editor in 2012 and publisher in 2017.

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