Patrick Slack staff headshot

Patrick Slack

My wife and I aren’t the most organized couple, so when moving into our new house in June, we kept the strategy pretty simple.

Make sure we knew where the TV and cords were. Make sure we knew where the beds were. Give a good effort to keep our valuable papers — and some restaurant gift cards — easily accessible, but hey, two out of three ain’t bad. Then stack the rest of the boxes in a giant heap in the garage and sort it out as we go.

Or at least that’s what my wife thought.

Unbeknownst to her, I had a secret, very important pile of boxes that I had lined up in the back of the garage, all marked “11/5” … Nov. 5. While some may argue my energy would be better spent working on being a little more productive and a little less on amusing myself — I confess I briefly wondered this myself when I still couldn’t find my winter coat so I had to bundle up with four sweatshirts for playoff football games this fall — I’ve made my peace with this part of myself.

Every family has to have a prankster, and every family has to have a certain difficult discussion, one that will inevitably lead to some hard feelings: When is the proper time to put up Christmas decorations?

My wife’s family, bless them, grew up with this crazy idea that Christmas should be contained to a single month. Ummm, the song is “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” not “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like December,” for a reason. If there’s snow on the ground, it’s time to sing Christmas songs and put up the tree.

Still, I’m a reasonable guy, so I’ve put forth a reasonable compromise through the years.

The day after my birthday, Nov. 5, the tree should go up.

I’m not going to lie, my success rate in this department has been rather dreary in the past, but I felt with a new house, some new energy and most importantly a spouse worn down by my charm, that this would be the start of a festive new tradition. Even the Grinch relented eventually, right?

So as the clock ticked down on my birthday earlier this month, I sneaked out to the garage, remembered that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission and started moving some 11/5 boxes inside with no one the wiser.

The next day, I opened a few boxes, strung a few lights and enjoyed my little personal victory.

Then I quickly stuffed the lights back into their boxes before my wife got home, recognizing Christmas is much bigger than a single month, but not so big as to warrant suffering the wrath of the mayor of Slackville.

Until December … and next Nov. 5.

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