Countdown to Christmas cannot begin soon enough



There are two types of people in the world: those who turn into Ebenezer Scrooge when they see Christmas decorations in the stores before October, and those who turn into Buddy the Elf and begin their countdown to the most joyful holiday of the year.

I fall into the second category. Seeing Christmas lights on a house brings tears to my eyes, I have multiple playlists for different Christmas moods and I’ll watch my favorite movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, no matter what season it is.

Christmas too early is a little crazy, but I believe lights can be put up and peppermint everything can begin just after Halloween.

This year, if you don’t start celebrating until after Thanksgiving, you only have 27 days to observe the joy. Twenty-seven. It’s just not enough.

You can’t possibly confine the holiday to only 648 hours.

In your Christmas footie pajamas, 216 hours are reserved for dreaming of sugarplums and snowflakes.

And as good college students, we must set aside a few hours, say 200, for classes, studying and dreaded finals.

As poor college students, figure in about 100 hours of work to save up on some cash for presents for your mom, dad, siblings, grandparents and don’t forget about your uncle Bob.

Sixteen hours need to be set aside for holiday baking. In addition to the casseroles, turkeys and hams, cookies are a necessity for Christmas get-togethers. Buy the sugar, roll out the dough, frost and sprinkle and stack. Repeat.

When you count all the movies you need to watch to fully get into the spirit, you’ll set aside 54 hours for holiday movie marathons. Elf, Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and you can’t forget about all the animated classics either. Add in Hallmark and ABC Family’s countdowns, and 54 hours may not be enough.

Set aside at least five hours for church services between Thanksgiving and Christmas to remember the reason for the season. Attending these church services lets me feel more connected to the holiday. Plus, I love watching the children’s nativity play. I got my start in acting by playing a beloved sheep on my church’s stage when I was four years old.

Since we’re scheduling out hours, don’t forget seven hours for Christmas shopping, three for wrapping presents, two for standing in line waiting to get a picture with Santa and give or take two hours wrestling your dog or cat into a reindeer costume. It’s a task that cannot be forgotten.

Decorating your room or house with Christmas lights, a tree and ornaments, and stockings hung by the chimney with care can take up to 10 hours. Actually more if you want your house to look like the Griswolds’. We’ll plan on 15.

Sleigh-rides, ice skating, singing Christmas carols, making a snowman and putting out cookies for Santa will take up the last 28 hours, if not more.

Yes, that adds up to 648 hours, but you end up squeezing everything into less than one month and rushing through the holiday, most likely focused on shopping and finals rather than family, Jesus and Christmas cookies.

Honestly, you need more time to enjoy every last bit of Christmas. Take the time to cherish each moment because it’s another 8,760 hours until Christmas is here again.

Brooke Kinney is a senior fitness management major from Adams, Minn.


Good things come to those who wait for Christmastime



And so it begins. Halloween is over, and now it’s time to steamroll over Thanksgiving and plow right on to Christmas.

Stores are decking the shelves with wreaths and stockings right across from aisles full of discounted candy and plastic pumpkins. Moms everywhere are plotting out their plans of attack to get shopping lists fulfilled during Black Friday sales, and all around it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

So, what’s the problem? If Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year, shouldn’t we want it to last as long as possible?

No. Christmas has become the Grinch who stole Thanksgiving, and if we’re not careful, it’s going to take over earlier and earlier each year until, suddenly, we’re buying candy canes alongside school supplies in August.

If you still find yourself drawn to your Christmas decorations board on Pinterest two months too early, take a moment to think about the real reason for the season.

Jesus wasn’t the type of guy to send out a reminder two months in advance that his birthday is coming up. You can bet that he wouldn’t have a countdown set on his iPhone or tweets in early November about trying a new gingerbread recipe.

In finding the right way to celebrate Christmas, we can learn quite a bit from the example of the Christian church calendar. The church prepares for the birth of Christ (the actual origin of the celebration of Christmas, for those of you who may have forgotten) through a Christmas “pre-game” known as advent.

Advent takes the four weeks leading up to Christmas and combines all of the excitement of lighting things on fire with all of the benefits of prayerful meditation and anticipation through the use of an advent wreath.

The advent wreath, a tradition that Lutherans in Germany began that was later widely adopted by the Catholic Church, offers prayerful preparation for the true Christmas season without all of the kitschy plastic lawn décor.

Additionally, the church calendar leaves plenty of time to celebrate the actual Christmas season, which runs from Christmas day to the Epiphany (Jan. 6), the date celebrating the wise men’s visit to the little baby Jesus all swaddled up in the manger.

However, if the Christmas tree has been up since Nov. 1, by the time January rolls around, the living room will just be a well-lit, sparkling fire hazard.

Good things come to those who wait, and good cheer, merriment and all that other yuletide celebration can wait, at least until after the Thanksgiving football game.

Megan Raposa is a junior journalism and business communications major from Rapid City, S.D.