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Christmas songs sung too soon for me

It’s November 16th. Richard and I are perusing the lunch menu at the Spokane Valley Red Robin restaurant.

Once we’ve placed our orders and have relaxed, our attention is suddenly caught by the music drifting through this bustling place’s usual noise. And what to our wondering ears … it’s a power-ballad version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” We stare at each other, stunned.

The next day I hear Christmas songs on the radio.

Say it ain’t so!

Sure, the Christmas décor has annoyingly been around since September. But Christmas music? Oh, please.

Save it, I beg you, until at least Thanksgiving weekend, after the turkey has had a chance to cool.

I don’t want Christmas chestnuts (roasting or otherwise) chucked at my ears for a whole month and a half. Retailers, take note: Hearing songs about Rudolph and silver bells before the leaves are off the trees will not put me in a festive shopping mood. It will more likely make me fling down that sweater set and flee.

What I really want right now is to enjoy rusty November, contemplating Thanksgiving. Not be “dashing through the snow.” (Didn’t we have enough of that seemingly just a few months ago? I still can’t bear to look at a snow shovel.)

No, I wish to contemplate a cozy feast that celebrates gratitude, unadorned by materialism or “bird-brained” jingles (Mama Got Run Over By a Turkey?). And ponder my blessings as I review this year, one that included two instances of “going where Deborah has not gone before.” (Oops, wrong franchise.)

We all have those moments of suddenly doing what we vowed never to do, shocking both ourselves and those who know us.

In July, I finally went through an overdue teen rite of passage and had my ears pierced. Big deal, you think? Yeah, it was. I’d resisted for decades, because I didn’t want holes in my ears. But as this was becoming a serious detriment to earring choice, I sucked it up, bravely marched myself into the mall and got punched. I wish I’d done it years ago.

Maybe a nose stud and a tat will be next; who knows? A woman over 50 finds it easier to go on the wild side.

We also occasionally find ourselves embracing absolutely unexpected challenges.

This summer I had the opportunity to copy edit a 300-page book, The Deathly Hallows Lectures by speaker and author John Granger. Granger writes academic books on the Harry Potter series’ below-the-surface structure, symbols, meanings and literary influences. This was the largest project I’ve ever worked on.

An absolutely astounding aspect of this experience was that, though I’ve interacted for years with Granger through his blog ( and e-mails, I’ve actually never met or spoken with him. He exists completely in cyberspace and print. I worked on the book online with his publisher. Who would have thought such a thing possible 10 years ago?

In October, it was thrilling to see all my cyber-work made physically manifest in a beautiful book.

Life is just full of odd twists, possibilities and curiosities. Yes, even Christmas carols in mid-November.

A year passes in which we turn corners and discover something out of the ordinary, waiting in the wings to march on our stage. Something that stretches and tests us. A blessing that may challenge; a challenge that may bless.

Or maybe just a pushy Jack Frost nipping at our noses.

I’m thankful God allowed me to expand my borders this year. I hope Borders isn’t playing Christmas music yet.

Because I really don’t want to hear yuletide carols being sung by a choir until the Thanksgiving dinner plates are sudsing in the dishwasher.

Until then, no reindeer games.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all … and to all a good night!

Reach Deborah Chan by e-mail at