For as long as I've known him, my husband's family has gone all-out on Christmas decorations. The hall held the big "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" sign. The garland wound its way up the bannister. The mantel held (some of) the Santa collection. Even the toilet seat had a peekaboo Santa cover. There was not a place in the house to hide from Christmas--it was THERE.
It still is, for the most part, but when my in-laws downsized houses, they also downsized the decor, moving some of it to their children's houses, and keeping a managable amount for themselves. But I remember asking in wonder, "How long does it take to do this?" thinking of my own parents' one day decorating binge. My mother in law replied, "All month!" and so I was introduced to "creeping Christmas." Unlike my family's tradition of tossing on all the lights on the warmest weekend day we could find in December, they planned things out, a little at a time. Thanksgiving slid in to Advent, which bloomed in to full Christmas regalia. But since it came quietly, with a turkey here exchanged for a snowman there, they dubbed it "creeping Christmas."
I always loved that term, I think since the malls, the radio, and the TV won't let the holidays sneak up on anybody anymore. So while Christmas invades the commercial side of life with all the subtlety of a herd of elephants, it's nice to take a breather post-Thanksgiving and let it come more quietly in to the house.
On Friday, as we left our in-laws from a lovely post-Thanksgiving dinner, I saw one lone little tree tucked in a corner by the door. "Oh! Creeping Christmas!" I joked, immediately setting my older son on edge. (I think "creepy" is still too much on his mind from Halloween.) "Why is Christmas creeping?" he demanded to know. So we talked about the difference between creepy and creeping, and read the poem "Fog"(since I incorrectly remembered it including the word "creep," but it was instructive and helpful anyway) and now he's saying it too. "Creeping Christmas, Mama!" he said, pointing to the holiday doormat I pulled out to replace the Thanksgiving one. And so it continues, both the tradition and the holiday's arrival, quietly coming to change our home, piece by piece.
And, just in case he ever decides to read this: Happy birthday to my husband, my love, and the joy of my days. May the next 40 years be as fun as the first!