Japanese maple leaf

Most years, I wait until after Thanksgiving before I start listening to Christmas music. Although stores are always in a rush to get people in the mood for Christmas shopping, I typically insist on letting the holidays arrive in due course: first Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and finally Christmas and New Year.

Golden glow

This year, however, I’ve made an exception. Given the abundance of gloom in the world–downed planes, terror attacks in Beirut and Paris, and the nonstop yammer of hate-mongering politicians–I started listening to Christmas music early this year, changing to holiday CDs when the news from my car radio is too brutal to bear. In these days of gloom and doom, we need every bit of brightness we can find.