I’m generally the type that likes to get through Thanksgiving before even thinking about Christmas.
Holiday lights are not strung up at my house until the turkey and pies have been scarfed down, and I wait until December before doing any shopping for gifts. As for Christmas music, I don’t want to hear it in November, which is why I refrain from listening to Houston radio station 99.1 FM until the month is done.
And it’s not because I’m a Grinch. Far from it. I love Christmas as much as the next guy. I’m just a big fan of Turkey Day, too, so I don’t want it to get short-changed or overshadowed.
This year, though, keeping Christmas from coming too fast seems like an impossible task. The Mrs. started playing holiday tunes in the house a couple weeks ago, and more and more Christmas decorations are going up in the neighborhood. My nearly 2-year-old son has taken notice and likes to take walks around the block so he can check out the light displays and inflatable lawn ornaments, with Mickey and Minnie on the corner being his clear favorite.
And everywhere I turn, including the pages of The Leader, I’m reminded that Christmas is around the corner. We have stories this week about upcoming appearances by the Heights Santa, holiday shopping on West 19th Street, the local American Legion post participating in a toy drive and members of the Waltrip High School band performing a concert called “Winter Blast” in mid-December at the Heights Theater.
The event flyer features red and white letters along with images of holiday lights and ornaments.
There’s no escaping the Christmas spirit, it seems, even though it’s still shorts-and-T-shirt weather and the joyful holiday is still a month away.
Perhaps people are more anxious than ever to see their loved ones, presents under a tree, Santa Claus and maybe even a miracle on West 34th Street. It’s been a long, stressful couple of years, of course, and it appears Christmas in 2021 can go off more normally than it did in 2020 in terms of family gatherings and holiday-themed events.
I suppose I’m just as anxious for it as anyone else. Along those lines, I must consider the possibility that maybe what I’ve noticed this month is no different than any other year – except for my perception.
Either way, I’m going to try to rein myself in and adhere to my longstanding policy about not letting Thanksgiving get the short end of the stick. I’m still excited for the opportunity to take some time off, stuff myself with food and drink and watch my fair share of football, even though the Texas Longhorns’ annual day-after-Thanksgiving game has lost all its luster.
That’s because my beloved alma mater keeps losing … and losing … and losing ... and losing … and losing … and losing. Six times in a row is plenty, and I’m thankful the Longhorns’ season is reaching its end.
I’m also thankful for my family, including my beautiful better half Christine, the aforementioned toddler Pablo and our 6-month-old daughter Rachel, who is experiencing her first holiday season.
I’m grateful for my job as editor of The Leader as well, along with the contributions of our talented and dedicated staff and the continued loyalty of our readers. We’re about two months into sending out a weekday newsletter to complement our printed paper and often-updated website, and it’s been enjoyable to engage with readers in a new way and watch our audience grow (don’t forget to sign up by visiting theleadernews.com or emailing us at email@example.com).
It’s hard to believe I’ve been covering the Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest areas for more than three years now. Time indeed flies when you’re having fun.
Along those lines, I’m thankful for all the local residents, businesses and proud, involved community leaders who make this part of Houston so special and have allowed me to share their stories. I’ve never felt more welcome and appreciated during my journalism career.
I’m grateful for the Astros as well, even though they couldn’t quite capture a second championship this fall. Three World Series appearances in five years is pretty cool, and maybe there will be another postseason run next year. Thanks, Justin Verlander, for deciding to stay in Houston. Tell Carlos Correa we appreciate him, too.
I’m just as thankful for good friends, good food, good music, good times and a good dog named Astrella.
Do you know what else I’m thankful for? That Christmas is coming, starting this weekend.
In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!