When Do You Put Up The Tree?

 When do y'all put up your Christmas tree?

This time of year, that's a divisive question. Too early, and you're stealing Thanksgiving's thunder. Too late, and you're a bit of a Scrooge. It's a quandary of Christmas cheer.
My family doesn't do Black Friday. There's no 4 a.m. trip to Wal-Mart or Kohl's for us. The day after Thanksgiving is forever reserved as The Day We Put Up The Tree. Like Nordstrom, we wait until it's appropriate, but we don't wait too long.

Now, I may have been ready to succumb to the peer pressure of Facebook this weekend. Those folks who posted photos of their trees just seemed so... happy. I already have a few presents purchased, and it's just about time to pull out the Love, Actually DVD. It basically made sense, right?

I was almost convinced until I found myself in Ashland this weekend. I love that town's Christmas decorations, and I wanted to take a few photos for HerKentucky holiday posts. The decorations were as delightful as ever, but it was 63 degrees and sunny. Santa looked a little warm in the sunlight amidst the leaves. Maybe waiting another few days makes sense...

When is your "right time" for holiday decorations?

November Quake

Yesterday, as I took the dogs out for a walk in the hills at my parents' house, I started thinking about how hard it is to characterize these first few weeks of November. It's kind of still football season, and it's kind of basketball season. Halloween is over, and you can't really drag Thanksgiving out into a multi-week holiday. It feels ridiculous to put up Christmas lights already, and yet I get so excited when I see the Christmas displays at department stores.  Maybe that's why there are so many November memes -- we're all trying to figure out what the month is all about.

Recent weather patterns here in Kentucky certainly have added to November's identity crisis. It was sweater weather as my beau and I left Rupp Arena Monday night; by the end of the week, I heard talk of tee times. Now, we all know that Kentucky weather is unpredictable -- if you don't like it, stick around a day or two and it'll change. But, this is one crazy-assed Indian summer, even by Kentucky standards.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any weirder around here, November decided to throw me for a loop. I was already a little on edge today. Deer season started this morning and I awoke to shotgun blasts reverberating throughout the holler. Then, around noon, I was standing in my parents' kitchen making lunch when I felt a weird rumble. A ripple of vibration made its way across the walls of the dining room and kitchen. The china cabinet groaned and tinkled.  At first, we weren't quite sure what had happened. My dad swore he hadn't felt anything. My mom thought it was just her imagination. But, soon enough, we confirmed it on our very favorite news source -- Facebook.

Now, it wasn't anything like the kind of quake they experience on the West Coast. It was a 4.3 magnitude earthquake in Whitesburg, which is about 45 miles away from my parents' house. There's no significant damage to be found. Around here, my aunt suffered a few cracks in her walls. The KSP post for Southeastern Kentucky told the Herald-Leader that they'd received reports of "people's pictures being knocked off the wall, and ceramic figurines being broken."  Nothing devastating, but certainly a memorable flourish on a pretty late autumn day.

I guess November just wanted to be taken a little more seriously.


November means a lot of things.

Basketball season begins. Football season gets interesting. The world is divided into those folks who decorate for the holidays before Thanksgiving, and those who don't.

For some reason, November's internet brings a plethora of memes. For the guys, there's No-Shave November and its weak cousin Movember. For the Facebook crowd, there's Thirty Days of Thankful. And, for the writers among us, there's NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month, despite it's horrid acronym, is a writing project that operates under a very simple idea. You have thirty days to write a book. Don't take forever, don't overthink it. Get it done. Get out of your head and write. 

The HerKentucky writing team were all over the place when asked if they were participating this year.  Megan W just finished a round of revisions on her existing book and is, as my granny would say, "wore plum out" with writing. Sarah's undertaking a November challenge of her own -- she's slowing down, taking control of her days, and "Saying No in November." Lydia is knee-deep in big life changes. So, in short, a lot of us just don't have time right now.

Emily and I are both writing in November. Emily tells me she's a "NaNoWriMo rebel", as she's writing non-fiction rather than a true novel. I have a good outline from the idea I developed while attending the Southern Festival of Books; I don't know if it'll take off into a full-size novel by December 1, but I'm certainly giving it a try!

What about y'all? Anybody else doing NaNoWriMo? Or No-Shave November? Or some awesome November meme I don't even know about?