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Juggling Act: A pandemic pick-me-up? Early Christmas lights, decor

Maureen Feighan   | The Detroit News

Thanksgiving is a week away but in a world where the coronavirus pandemic has tested us so much that "2020" has become a verb for bad things happening, many Metro Detroiters are thinking Christmas.

Across the region, pandemic-weary residents are trying to find joy in the simplest of ways and, for many, that means Christmas decor. They're putting up Christmas trees, stringing up their outdoor lights and breaking out the Yuletide playlist.

"We could all use some joy in our lives right now," said my daughter's teacher during her class's daily Zoom call last week. She put up her Christmas tree nearly two weeks before Thanksgiving.

Multiple reasons are likely behind the early decorating. When temperatures hit the 70s in early November, some people took that opportunity to put up their lights.

Jeffrey King of Jeffrey King Interiors in Birmingham has noticed how early holiday decorations have come out. He wonders if it's also because people are home so much right now amid the latest COVID 19 surge.

"I’ve never seen more Christmas trees at this time before," said King.

 John Darin, co-owner of English Gardens, which opened its Christmas stores in early November, said Christmas lights have been a hot seller so far this year.

In downtown Rochester, not only are its trademark holiday lights already lit up over the front facade of every business on Main Street but nearby homes have their own lights up.

Christmas trees sparkle through front windows. Some homeowners have set up holiday votive candles along walkways and wrapped strands of lights around trees. A week before Thanksgiving, Christmas lights outweigh pumpkins.

Andrea Linneburg of Almont, just north of Romeo, calls Christmas decorations like "a friend coming for the holidays."

For Linneburg, who writes a lifestyle blog, the minute Halloween ends is when it's time to start putting up her holiday decor. 

"When the clock strikes midnight on Halloween, it will officially be the Christmas holiday season," writes Linneburg."Well, at least in our home."

But a lot of us are feeling the pull of the holidays this year and the simple joys they bring, especially as COVID continues to reshape our lives and change how we celebrate with loved ones this year.

This isn't the first time during this pandemic that people have turned to Christmas for joy -- and a distraction. In March, across the country, people started putting up Christmas lights to connect with one another in different ways and share something joyful. The Hallmark Channel even ran a Christmas movie marathon.

Christmas decorations won't change the fact that so many people are struggling. They won't change the fact that our frontline workers will continue to have to put themselves at risk every day until we can control this latest surge. And they won't the change the fact that the holidays will be especially hard this year for those who've lost loved ones to this awful virus.

But what they can do is bring joy. And goodness knows we could all use a little of that.