Christmas Cheer Arrives Early This Year

Christmas Cheer Arrives Early This Year

Amber Tiongson '22, Subject Editor PERSPECTIVES and SPECIAL PROJECTS

It’s the beginning of November, and you hop in the car. Naturally, you turn on the radio station, and then you hear, “…Feliz Navidad, Prospero Año y Felicidad…”. If you kept the station and turned up the volume, well, you would not be the first. For many, 2020 has resulted in pure misery and sorrow. There’s barely been any hope or joy as these past couple of months have been uncertain and scary. We desperately need Tiny Tim to remind us of how blessed we are, despite everything. Now you may be thinking, what about the turkey, the pumpkin pie, the drunk relatives, the corny speeches, and the random dog show that follows the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Of course, Thanksgiving is important, and it brings families and friends together. However, there are no Thanksgiving-themed Hallmark movies. All jokes aside, for some, the Christmas season came early this year. 

This year, it seemed like many people were getting their Christmas trees well before Thanksgiving, and Home Depot loved it. I would not be able to tell you how many trees I saw strapped up on the roofs of cars before Thanksgiving. Christmas with the Tiongson’s has been in full swing since November 1. My mom and I started watching a boatload of Christmas Hallmark movies from their Countdown to Christmas marathon at the start of November. Although these movies can be cheesy, we never needed a cheese-fest like we do right now. We’ve been listening to Christmas music, and I’ve broken out my Christmas pajamas too.

Before Thanksgiving break, I had asked some GC students how their families were celebrating Christmas this year. GC junior, Emily Pautler ’22, shared her family’s tradition and her feelings toward getting into the holly jolly spirit, “Sadly my family has not decorated early so far (even though I want to). But, we have ordered Christmas PJs (which is our tradition each year to have special PJs Christmas morning).” She goes on to say, “I would honestly love to start celebrating Christmas early this year since it is something to look forward to, especially since quarantine has wiped out most of my regular schedule.” Elizabeth Garland ’22, also a junior, expressed her feelings as well, “Yeah, I’m just ready for some joy. I started playing Christmas music this week, and I’ve never started this early before…” GC sophomore, Abigail Schaefer ’23, shared her prediction about Christmas, “…I think that a lot of people are staying home for the holidays…” 

 

“It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas.” 

However, this article would not be complete without the perspectives of some GC faculty and staff members. If you’re planning on driving by the Barker house to see their Christmas cheer, do not bother, as Dr. Barker and his wife will be spending Christmas down under this year. The reason for their journey back home? Evie, Dr. and Mrs. Barker’s first grandchild, was born recently. The Christmas spirit looks quite different in New Zealand, as Dr. Barker explained, “…People in New Zealand do not go in for trees and other decorations anywhere near as much as they do here. I think that’s because they spend so much time outside in late December and it is still light at 9:30 pm…” Mr. Campbell ’93 revealed, “…I have definitely noticed more people getting into the Christmas spirit earlier than usual. I have a few friends who started decorating right after Halloween! Our family tradition is to put up our decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving. Usually, the process is squeezed in between visits with family and friends, activities, etc. With just about everything canceled this year, we were able to take our time and enjoy decorating. I even had time to put up lights outside, which I normally don’t have time to do…” 

Mr. Campbell is not the only GC faculty or staff member who’s noticed early Christmas cheer as Mrs. Morrissey, a GC science teacher, reported, “…My neighbors put their lights out in late March…” Mrs. Morrissey also informed me that she wanted to decorate her home before Thanksgiving, but she never got a chance to. In these troubling times, she believes that “We all need something to help us smile.” 

Good Counsel social studies teacher, Mr. Redmond’s feelings are similar as he expressed, “I believe that it’s important to give Thanksgiving its due and avoid Christmas creep. I generally am a stickler for not putting up Christmas decorations until Thanksgiving Day at the earliest. I usually do it gradually over the long weekend, but this year I had them all up by 9 pm on Thanksgiving. This year, though, I encouraged anybody I spoke with to put up decorations as early as they want: we’ve been stuck in our houses or apartments since March, so I support anything that allows for a little redecoration…” 

Mrs. Hanson, Good Counsel’s receptionist, is also on board for early merriment as she said, “During this stressful time of COVID, it just feels right to embrace the spirit of Christmas early. There is no hustle and bustle of running to the stores but taking the year off to enjoy some peace and quiet time. The neighborhood streets are twinkling everywhere, making our evening walks oh so special. This year I am enjoying my many lights outside, sitting under a heat lamp watching my Hallmark movies. Looking forward to cups of hot chocolate sitting by our well-lit Christmas tree.” 

 

“Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, Jack Frost Nipping At Your Nose”

Religion teacher Mrs. Egan divulged her family’s new Christmas tradition, “This year, our family is definitely fully embracing the holiday season at home! We always look forward to opening Advent calendars, but this year we added a new tradition with a second tree to decorate…”  

Mr. Christian, GC World Language teacher, shared his observations and festivities. “I have noticed it a little more this year, and I do think that although people may not be gathering as often in larger numbers, they are still looking forward to sharing those moments with the people they love. My wife and daughter set up our new (artificial) tree earlier than normal this year, and it’s beautiful! Even I am almost done with most of my Christmas shopping, which is rare for me on December 1. Feliz Navidad!” 

Christmas means much more than presents under the tree to the Mooney household, according to Mr. Mooney ’68, a member of the GC Business Office. He said, “What Christmas Spirit means to us, in the Mooney home, is family and spiritual time. We spend almost no time buying gifts as both of our families have moved beyond exchanging–leaving much more time to enjoy the best parts of the season. As you have, I have noticed the early arrival of Olney’s holiday spirit–lots of lights are up, including ours. As the days get short, it is a welcome sight to see the lights as they chase away some of the darkness. And when you think about it, that is what Jesus did when He arrived–brought light to the darkness.” 

The Christmas bells do not ring for some faculty and staff members until the pumpkin pie and stuffing have been eaten. Assistant Principal, Mr. Collins ’82, explained, “…I can’t say my Christmas spirit has arrived earlier than usual this year as I am a firm advocate of the “Christmas-doesn’t-start-until-Thanksgiving-weekend-is-over” philosophy. My neighbors starting in with their outdoor decorations and cold weather rushing in today (and the fact that it’s December 1) tells me that Christmas is starting to settle in, so I am officially ready to be in the spirit…”   

Even though we can’t sit on Santa’s lap and have to stay six feet apart from the elves, our Christmas spirit remains strong. Like the Grinch, Corona has stolen many aspects of our lives that we enjoy, but it has not claimed our strength and hope as Falcons.

A GC Christmas Gallery