By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

This is a weird time right now.

The Gazette’s server changes haven’t started yet like I planned, so it’s been throwing off my whole schedule on how to move forward over the next week. So I’m posting this week’s column today.

In light of recent news around Corsicana, I’m not the only one dealing with a sense of throwing one’s hands up in the air about how things should go. Plans are shuffled, schedules aren’t as concrete as we’d like to rely on, and one question looms over all others: What now?

COVID-19 has been ramping up all over the country again as predicted by medical experts. It’s changing how we’re looking at the holiday season starting next week. I’ve had cancel my family Thanksgiving plans, so the Missus and I are staying at home.

Ever an advocate for “Give Thanksgiving A Chance,” I will admit, like so many others right now, the siren song of decorating for Christmas this week is calling. I mean, why not, really? 2020 has broken structure and tradition and plans and every sense of normalcy we’ve built a lifetime of getting used to.

And it’s fatiguing. I get that.

People are trying their best to make sense of a situation that doesn’t play by standard rules. I feel like I’ve been attending an eight-month ninja convention after seeing so many people in masks over the year. Holidays, birthdays, vacations, general and special plans, all muddled.

So I’m eyeing the boxes of decorations in the garage, and I’m about to break the long family-instilled tradition of “Christmas starts after Thanksgiving.”

Because… why not?

There’s something comforting about colored lights, or the white lights that look like snow. Santas, snowmen, that manger that was passed onto me by my grandmother, the light-up Snoopy in the yard…. I’m about to take a lesson from this year, and chuck my expectations of how things should go, and just make the “festive and bright” thing happen now.

And maybe you should too.

This is going to be a different holiday season. It simply is. I may “go big” with the lights, and decorate more than I usually do. And I realize it’s not the extra work I’m looking forward to, and this isn’t even for me, really. I want to do this because of how I’ve been inspired this past week.

I’ve driven by a few houses of those “early decorators” the last few days, and the effect is admittedly comforting. I know people are starting now to cheer themselves up during a rough time right now, but it’s a nice effect for those passing by. The brightness and the color has felt more “normal.” I’m willing to buy into a few extra weeks of that.

While the tree lighting ceremony and the parade are canceled, the city is still out there building the tree over by the Chase Bank. I watched as shopkeepers started putting out wreaths and glass bulbs and everything else. I’d imagine by the time it’s all done for downtown, it’s going be be a nice effect to drive or walk by.

After all, we can still look at how everyone chooses to celebrate.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions growing up was going Christmas light looking. Driving around neighborhoods where the family would look at all the houses and see their displays. I still do the drives as an adult, because it reminds me of then. I still plan on doing that this year.

Go ahead and decorate your house. Go all out with it. This is coming from someone who is rigid with tradition and how things should be done. Enjoy the colors. Pull out those old music albums. Go ahead and put Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Frosty the Snowman, and Die Hard into your holiday movie rotation. Find your happiness that comes with the holidays, and share it with those who pass by your windows or yards. I think we’ve earned a few extra weeks of that feeling that comes with this time of year.

This is going to have to be a much more visual Christmas than usual, one that’s not “our” normal, but at least let’s make it one we can enjoy passing by.

Though at the very least, squeeze next Thursday in there for some amazing food and the resulting nap that comes with it.

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