December 1st marks a turning point every year. Before this date, anyone who gives me Christmas candy becomes an instant enemy, I have black coffee weeks rather than buy milk in Christmas-themed cartons, and if I hear a Christmas song, I panic. It’s more than just a protest against Christmas products for sale in October – any Christmasy feeling at the wrong time of year must be avoided at all costs.
My first winter in Norway gave me such an intense Christmasy feeling that no other December can ever compete with it. For the first time I could remember, everyone around me was celebrating Christmas in the same traditional Norwegian way. No one wished me Happy Holidays or made me decorate a paper holiday tree. Instead we sang actual religious songs in class, counted down the days of December before school started and spent most of class time preparing for our end of semester Christmas show. And Christmas was gloriously, definitely white, not "green" which really means gray and brown.
These days, we prepare for exams instead of singing for our parents. And if I use up my Christmasy feeling in mid-October, when it starts to feel cold and drunk people start singing Christmas carols at me when I walk home, then there won’t be any left by the time I’m falling asleep over my text books and worrying about having time to buy – let alone affording – Christmas gifts in mid-December.
Starting today, I feel Christmasy without any guilt. Let’s hope it lasts.