The first Christmas story you read this year

My wife has a rule: no Christmas music until after Halloween. There is a confession in this column. But first, I have two questions. Does it ever feel like Christmas gets closer and closer each year?

I saw my first Christmas commercial of the season while watching the World Series. My second question is this, have you ever found yourself saying something like, “The media pushes Christmas earlier every year!”?

Now the confession: Blame me. This might be the first Christmas story you read in a newspaper this year. I hope it is. I love Christmas so much that it takes over my daydreams as soon as the first frost hits.

In light of this, maybe my wife’s rule makes sense. Under the watchful eyes of Halloween witches and decorative ghosts and black cats, I started gathering my Christmas CDs last week.

I couldn't help myself. I went to the store for candy corn and there they were -- right next to the cackling skulls -- Christmas lights! When I got home, I thought, "I'll just pull out a few CDs...the jazz ones...since there are no lyrics and they twist the melodies, no one will notice."

It didn't stop there.

"I'll just sneak a few old, wintry folk collections into my car," I thought to myself. You know the kind that Sting or Bruce Cockburn might do with acoustic instruments? And while I  was thinking about winter music, I could probably also get away with the more experimental Christmas music that Sufjan Stevens puts out this time of year. It's the kind of lo-fi keyboard stuff that sits well under a gray sky. He can make steadfast Christmas classics like "O Come O Emmanuel" sound otherworldly.

You see what was happening here? I was on a slippery slope. I was trying. But it was getting harder and harder to obey my wife's rule. And then all of a sudden, wait! What's that? Did I hear "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" echoing through the house?

I would never have gone for such a flagrant violation before Halloween! Was I really that far gone that I was hallucinating and no longer in control of my actions? I followed the sound up the stairs and down the hall to my son's room.

"Is he listening to Christmas music?" I asked coming through the door.

My wife was sitting in bed with him. They just finished a book and he was about to go to sleep.

"Yes," my wife said. "He's been asking. He really wanted to hear it, so I let him."  

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