I went into a department store in suburban Chicago and found it fully decorated for Christmas – on October 26th!
My family’s tradition was quite different. About December 20th, a tree would be bought but it would not be brought into the house until fairly late on Christmas Eve. The family would then decorate the tree together (and inevitably squabble about who had broken the tree lights when taking them down the previous year!) and we would put out the nativity scene. It was magical.
When my younger brother and I were still little, we didn’t join our older siblings at Midnight Mass but would wake up to find our Christmas stockings at the foot of our beds. Then we’d get up and go to Mass. We’d come home and then have to endure the longest breakfast in the world. All we wanted was to get at our presents in the family room, but our parents would have fun by stretching it out as long as they could. “Madeleine, would you like another cup of coffee?” “Oh, yes please.” “Bob, how about some more toast?” “That would be lovely.” “No, Daddy, NO!”
By the time we were finally allowed to attack our gifts we were crazed animals.