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Notions: That time of year

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Posted on November 9, 2010 | Blog Category:
By Tamara Hilmes



It’s already that time of year. As my little blue-gray Jeep skidded closer and closer to the telephone pole on the side of South Street — literally the only telephone pole for about a mile — it struck me that winter had arrived.

Luckily, though, I managed to avoid striking that particular pole. My car stopped sliding just in time and I proceeded to ease my way into my ice-covered driveway and slow to a stop. The whole incident seemed as though it were in slow motion, perhaps because I had literally been driving 5 miles an hour in anticipation of such a slippery occurrence. But caution, I’ve learned, doesn’t always cut it when it comes to Mother Nature.

Sometimes, you just cannot avoid slip sliding down the driveway, just as you cannot avoid sliding from one month into the next — it’s already nearly the middle of November, for heaven sakes. And with Thanksgiving only weeks away, everyone, of course, is already thinking about Christmas.

This bothers me for a wide variety of reasons, one being that I have always been of the no-Christmas-until-after-Turkey-Day camp. As soon as we’ve cleared the dishes, though, I take on holiday cheer in full force. Ask any of my friends or family and they’ll tell you that I love the holiday season way, way more than is normal (and in some cases, acceptable). For the past three years I have hosted Christmas music specials on the college radio station starting the first week of December and have snipped tiny white snowflakes out of eight-and-a-half by elevens to tape onto every window in sight. I could go on and on about my favorite holiday activities, but I’ll spare you pain and get to my point, instead.

Four years ago, right around this time, I found a loophole in my self-inflicted, anti-early-Christmas regulations. My boss at the Henry Sheldon Museum (where I worked throughout my time at the college) asked me to take a lead in decorating the museum for Christmas. That’s right — I was given an excuse, no, an order to hang garlands, to make bright red bows and to decorate trees. It was a dream come true.

And decorating the Sheldon has become somewhat of a new holiday tradition for me. In the time since I was first named “Christmas Queen” of the museum, another team of superb decorators has taken a lead in dressing up the space, but I have still managed to decorate a doorframe or two. This year, I secretly despaired at the thought of not being able to participate in making Henry’s place holly and jolly when, to my great surprise, my editor asked me to write a story on the Sheldon’s holiday trains and other decorations. Once again, Christmas has become my job — and I can’t believe my luck!

But aside from this brief blog and my hours inside the museum spent checking twinkle lights with the special twinkle-light-checking device, I will continue to keep my vow of no pre-pumpkin-pie Christmasing — though, to be honest, thoughts of the holiday season are really the only things that make this gosh darn snow acceptable.

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