Author Archives: Tessa

Reflecting on 2018 and Looking Ahead to 2019

It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by. 2018 was a very long and difficult year for me, but now that it’s over, I can look back on it with appreciation. It was filled with many ups and downs, but I learned a lot, and for that I am grateful.

Some things I learned this past year:

  • I need to stop pushing myself more than I can handle. I had some serious mental health issues this year because of pressure from school and pressure that I’ve put on myself, and it made me realize that I need to stop trying to be a perfect student and prioritize my mental health over everything, even school.
  • I need to be more open with my loved ones about the issues I’m facing. My mental health issues got so bad that I realized that I had to tell someone about them. I opened up to my parents, my boyfriend, and my doctor, and it helped a lot. Just being able to talk about what I was going through and have people supporting me made a massive difference, and I hope to continue to be open about these issues.
  • Not all friends last forever. I recently lost the last of my friends from my first year of university. Though I had slowly lost touch with most of them before this, it still sucked because it forced me to acknowledge that that part of my life is over, and that the people who I thought would be my friends for life actually weren’t. Though I still look back fondly on my memories with them, I know that those friendships wouldn’t have worked long-term and that I will find true, lasting friendships in the future.

While I went through a lot of tough times last year, I also had some really positive experiences:

  • I finished my third year of university, making me more than halfway through my degree.
  • I went back to my old job and I’m really enjoying it. It’s fun and interesting, and I love my coworkers.
  • I moved into a one-bedroom apartment and got to experience the thrill of having my own place and not worrying about a roommate.
  • I made a lot of friends, and I’ve become very close to some of them. I haven’t had many close friends in Vancouver over the past few years, so it’s nice to finally have met some people with whom I have a great connection.
  • I started this blog, which has been super fun and has encouraged me to get back into writing.

2018 was a very mixed year, but I am looking forward to 2019. I’m much happier than I was a year ago, and I think this will be a good year for me. I don’t have any concrete resolutions, because I absolutely never follow through with them, but I do have a few small-ish goals that I would like to accomplish.

  1. I want to eat less red meat (sorry, Mom!). It’s partly because I am a huge animal lover and feel super guilty eating meat, particularly that of very smart and/or affectionate animals like cows, and partly because animal agriculture is a major cause of global warming, and I want to help reduce its impact. I’m not going vegetarian, as I am a very picky eater as it is, but I am hoping that I can eat less or even no red meat (and maybe less meat in general) to do my part to help save the planet.
  2. I’ve been saying this forever, but I want to exercise. It’s partly because I want to get in shape and be physically healthy, partly because I want to improve the look of my body so I can be less insecure about it, and partly because physical exercise helps improve mental health, which is something that I want to work on this year.
  3. This is kind of lame, but I’d like to be more social. I am very introverted and I have a busy schedule because of school, but I want to devote more time to maintaining the amazing friendships I’ve made in the past year, and I think spending more time with friends and less time worrying about school will be good for me.
  4. I want to read more. I’ve barely read anything for fun since I started university, but I have literal piles of unread books on my bookshelves, and I want to actually get around to reading some of them this year. It can be hard to motivate myself to do it, especially because I have to read so much for class that it can sometimes take the fun out of it, but I really want to make an effort this year. Over the winter break, I finally got around to reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and it reinvigorated my love of reading, so I’d like to continue pleasure reading, even if it’s just in the summer when I have more free time.
  5. Lastly, I’d like to write more. I’ve loved writing posts for this blog, and I’d like to continue it for as long as possible. I also want to do some creative writing, which is my true passion but which I have not done for years. I constantly write down potential novel or screenplay ideas, but I never manage to follow through and completely plan them out, let alone write them, so this year I’d like to do some creative writing.

I am looking forward to (hopefully) accomplishing most of my goals this year, as long as I stay motivated. What are some of your goals for 2019? Since I posted this so late (sorry!), have you had any success with those goals so far?

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a Failure

Last week, I was finally able to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie. I had heard from several people, including massive Harry Potter fans, that it was terrible, so I went in with low expectations. Surprisingly, I was still disappointed.

I could write a twenty-page essay on why this movie was terrible, but I’ve tried to condense my thoughts and focus on the biggest problems I had with the film. I still wrote a lot, which I apologize for, but I just had to get my feelings out. This review will have minor spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, and if you need a refresher on its premise, click here to watch the trailer.

Now, where to start? The Crimes of Grindelwald has so many flaws, but the most striking one is the lack of any discernible plot. Aside from a few major events in the beginning and end, nothing really happens in this film. It mostly consists of exposition, and feels like a buildup to the real story, which we never get. I was surprised when it reached the climax, because it felt like nothing had happened yet. Part of the cause of this problem, in my opinion, is the fact that Fantastic Beasts is going to be a five-film series, which is clearly just a cash grab. This second installment shows that there is not enough material to cover five films, as it is not a self-contained story with a typical story arc and conclusion, but rather a prolonged exposition setting up the next movie, where, presumably, stuff actually happens. The Crimes of Grindelwald is meant to be watched immediately before watching the next film in order to understand what is going on, instead of being watched because it’s a complete and enjoyable story on its own.

Another gaping problem with The Crimes of Grindelwald is the characters, as there are too many, their arcs are either nonexistent or not believable, and, despite the film being almost two and a half hours long, it felt like I spent very little time with each character. Unlike the first Fantastic Beasts film, which has four main characters and a couple side characters, the sequel has a large cast of characters, new and old, and it just feels crowded. There were so many people to keep track of that I eventually gave up, and I genuinely can’t remember the names of some of the new characters. To make matters worse, the characters are broken up into small groups, so the story constantly shifts to show what is going on with other characters, and this makes the time we spend with each character feel shorter. It also feels short because nothing really happens to these characters, and most of them don’t grow or change at all. Contrastingly, one of the characters changes significantly, but the change is extremely radical and receives little explanation, so it does not feel believable and just serves as shock value. The issues with the characters make this already unappealing film even more difficult to care about.

Lastly, one huge issue that I (and most Harry Potter fans) have with The Crimes of Grindelwald is that it commits the worst crime possible: it goes against Harry Potter canon. Casual fans of Harry Potter may not notice or care about this, but for hardcore fans such as myself, it is unacceptable. J. K. Rowling spent years crafting this world and making sure she got every detail right, so it is extremely strange and disappointing that she could either forget what she originally wrote, or decide to change it after the fact. One example of her going against canon is that Professor McGonagall is teaching at Hogwarts in this film, despite the fact that she wasn’t even born yet. Perhaps J. K. Rowling decided to change her birthdate to include her in the film, but she has such a small part that it seems unnecessary; she is essentially only there so fans can go, “OMG, it’s McGonagall!”. The other option is that she forgot that McGonagall wasn’t born yet, which is even more disappointing, because it shows that she does not really care about this series, and that makes it difficult for me to get invested in it.

The other instances of breaking canon are different; she did not make a mistake or forget something, but rather changed certain aspects of the Harry Potter storyline. Fans such as myself who have read the books will notice this immediately, and likely feel angry that she carelessly went back and changed her original story in big ways. I have seen arguments attempting to explain why these changes were not included in Harry Potter from the beginning, but I don’t buy any of them. She describes everything in detail in Harry Potter, so there’s no way she wouldn’t have included these aspects of the story. It is clear that she decided to change these after the fact, despite the fact that these changes make no sense in the canonical story. One big revelation changes everything, and it doesn’t even make sense in the film itself, as there are no hints or clues for it. It seems to exist almost entirely for shock value, which is very disappointing and once again shows how little effort and care were put into this story.

Now the question remains: Can the Fantastic Beasts franchise be saved? After seeing the second installment, my hopes have dwindled significantly. If the subsequent films have actual plots and character development and explain the choices to go against canon, I could potentially get behind them, but I’m not going to get my hopes up, and neither should you. I would give The Crimes of Grindelwald a 4/10, and I would suggest that potential viewers just stick to Harry Potter

My End of Semester Motivation Slump

It’s that time of year again! (No, I’m not talking about Christmas)

It’s time for term papers, finals, and an unbearable amount of stress. There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by spending all of your time and energy focusing on school, right?

For real though, the end of each semester is always the absolute worst. As an English major, I always have multiple term papers and at least one final exam. This semester, I have three research papers, which I hate writing because finding journal articles is super difficult and time consuming, and I’d rather just write a simple essay analyzing the text. To make matters worse, all of my papers are due around the same time (as usual), so I have to scramble to get them all done. I am currently on the verge of a breakdown because of all the work I have to do, and this isn’t even counting the final I have for my online class, which I am super behind in because it’s so boring that I’ve just been putting it off for the last month (which I bitterly regret now).

As my general motivation continues to drop every semester, so does my motivation at the end of each semester. It’s been three months, so the last thing I want to do at the very end of it is write a bunch of papers and study for exams. I’m already completely burnt out at this point and have very little energy left to give, so I can’t be expected to do my best work. I tend to write papers as quickly as possible and only do minimal editing because I’m so done with the semester that I don’t care anymore and just want it to be over. I know I should be working my hardest at the end of each semester, and technically I do (because I have the most work to complete at that point), but I don’t put in as much effort as I do earlier on in the semester when I’m not totally dead inside.

My lack of motivation at the end of each semester is exacerbated by my tendency to procrastinate, so in addition to not wanting to write a bunch of essays, I also tend to put them off to the last minute. I say that I won’t do this every semester, and yet here I am in the same situation I’ve been in at the end of every semester of my degree. You would think that I would’ve learned by now, but apparently not. In fact, I think it’s gotten worse. This semester is a prime example of that, as I haven’t even started my biggest term paper and it’s due in a week. I had plenty of time to work on it earlier, as I had very little homework the last few weeks, but instead of getting a head start on any or all of my papers, I just watched YouTube videos and hungout with my boyfriend. I wish that I hadn’t been so lazy in that last few weeks, because if that was the case, I could have been finished my term papers by now (okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’d have a lot more work done for sure).

Now is the point when I’m supposed to offer advice for motivating yourself and not procrastinating in the last few weeks of school, but, as you can probably tell, I’m not in much of a position to be giving anyone advice. All I can say is that you do not want to be in my position right now, because I’m literally spending all day every day doing homework, so try your best to work on it earlier. The sooner you finish, the sooner you can relax and just watch Netflix all day (or go out if you actually have a life).

Right now I’m trying to get all my papers done as quickly as possible because once this semester is over, I can spend all my time doing Christmassy things, like listening to Christmas music, watching cheesy Hallmark movies and classic Christmas movies from my childhood, and dragging my boyfriend and friends to as many Christmas events as possible. I suppose having something so great to look forward to makes it a bit easier to get all this work done.

My Publishing Experience

I have loved writing ever since I was a child, and for most of my life, it has been a dream of mine to become some kind of writer, whether it be an author, screenwriter, or journalist. I have wanted to create a blog for several years now, as I thought it would be both fun and beneficial to create a space where my writing could live. I hoped to use it to express my thoughts, improve my writing, create an audience that could follow me on my future endeavours, and perhaps make some money doing what I love. I have not accomplished all of these goals yet, but my blog is still new, so I have plenty of time to work towards them.

I was both apprehensive and excited to create my own blog. I decided early on that I wanted it to be a personal blog, as that gives me more freedom to write about various subjects and allows me to write essays about my thoughts and experiences while showing off my writing skills. I aimed for an audience of people around my age, and while many of my blog posts are about the student experience, I want my blog to be accessible for those who are not in school as well, as I want to talk about the young adult experience. My idea of what I want my audience or public to be lines up with Michael Warner’s in “Publics and Counterpublics”, as he states, “A public is a relation among strangers”, and I want my blog to be a place where people can read about experiences similar to their own and feel a sense of connection with them. I also want my public to be a “social space” as described by Warner, as I want to foster a sense of community among my readers and give them a space where they can discuss their own experiences and struggles.

I changed the theme of my blog several times before deciding on my current theme, as I initially wanted something very simple so I could focus on my content, but I was unhappy with the first few themes I tried and wanted something more visually appealing. Travis Gertz discusses the importance of design in his article “Design Machines: How to Survive the Digital Apocalypse”, and his insights convinced me to place more emphasis on the design of my blog, as it is what attracts readers. Gertz believes that a website’s layout should “[connect] the content to the medium”, and that connection is what I want to achieve. I chose a simple, easy to navigate theme that emphasizes and works well with my content. I have a lot of white space on my blog, but my header picture, Instagram feed, and blog post images contrast it. The blog post images also draw attention to the posts themselves and connect to their topics. Gertz emphasizes the relationship between design and content, stating, “[D]esign augments the message of the content”, so I am trying to connect my content to my design to create a uniform feel to my blog. My header image is a picture of clouds, which connects nicely with my blog’s title. I want to make it clear as soon as people visit my homepage that I have put a lot of time and effort into the design of my blog, and that the design quality reflects the quality of the content.

I intend to continue blogging after this course, and I am planning to take information from lectures and readings into account as I maintain and develop my online presence. The course reading “Make Your Thing” by Jesse Thorn has many helpful insights for finding success in independent media, but the one that is most useful in my current situation is “Keep Your Legs Moving”, as with the course ending, I need to keep working hard to maintain my blog and its audience. I intend to continue posting on my blog at least once a week, perhaps even more during school breaks. I would also like to work on cultivating my social media presence and expanding the reach of my blog’s Instagram account. Most of my readers have come from my Instagram, so I plan to post on it more often to attract people to my blog. Ideally, I would like to post on it at least twice a week, although I realize that will be difficult while I am in school. Regardless, I want to post on my Instagram every time I post on my blog to alert viewers of new posts. I would also like to post pictures of myself, where I go, and what I do on my Instagram, so my audience can get a sense of who I am as a person and follow my adventures through multiple channels. Another goal of mine is to gain enough viewers to be able to make money from my blog, whether it be from Google ads, affiliate marketing, or sponsored posts on my blog or Instagram. I would love to be able to support myself doing something that I love, whether it be running my blog or becoming a journalist, author, or screenwriter because of my blog’s success. Regardless of what the future holds, I am excited to continue this journey and see what lies ahead.

 

Works Cited

Gertz, Travis. “Design Machines: How to Survive the Digital Apocalypse”. Louder Than Ten.

            10 Jul. 2015, https://louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines. Accessed 23 Nov. 2018.

Thorn, Jesse. “Make Your Thing”. Transom. 11 Apr. 2012, https://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-

            make-your-thing/. Accessed 23 Nov. 2018.

Warner, Michael. “Publics and Counterpublics”. Quarterly Journal of Speech, vol. 88, no. 4,

            Nov. 2002, pp. 413-425, http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf.

            Accessed 23 Nov. 2018.

Week 12 Process Post

I have not received many comments on my website so far, and the ones I do have are from Ellen, Suzanne, and a few classmates. I would like to encourage active participation and discussion on my website, but I think that will not happen for a while because most of the people reading my blog right now are friends or family, and if they have any comments on my content, they will tell me in person or over text/social media. Once I expand my audience to people that I do not know, I believe and hope that I will receive more comments. In the meantime, I do think it is a good idea to set up guidelines for both myself and anyone else who wishes to comment on my posts.

Maria Konnikova discusses the benefits and issues of online comments in her article “The Psychology of Online Comments”. Online comments can be dangerous, and can “lead to a culture of aggression and mockery that hinders substantive discourse”, and the last thing I want to do is create a space where that can happen. Konnikova debates the issue of whether comments should remain anonymous or not, citing compelling arguments on both sides. I decided early on that I do not want the comments on my blog to be anonymous, as I believe it can open up a space where people feel free to say anything without experiencing consequences because no one knows who they are. I ask for first names of anyone wishing to post a comment so they are less inclined to post anything inappropriate or hateful, and because I believe having first names makes the commenters feel more real and easier to engage with in conversation.

Below are my community guidelines for commenting (I have co-opted some from The Guardian, as they have a great list of community standards).

 

  1. Be respectful. Debates are allowed and even encouraged, but personal attacks and offensive comments will not be tolerated.
  2. Do not discriminate against others. Any kind of hate-speech, or anything that could be interpreted as hate-speech, will be removed.
  3. Do not include spam, advertisements, or self-promotion in comments.
  4. Use appropriate language.
  5. Stay on topic. Comments should be relevant to the post to keep the dialogue on track.

Any comments that do not meet the above standards will be removed.

 

I am hoping that these guidelines will encourage positive participation and dialogue in the comments section of my blog. I have included them in my About section so they are available for viewers to see when they visit my website.

Course Selection is the Worst

A few days ago, I had my enrollment appointment for the spring semester. It was a nerve-wracking experience that created a significant amount of stress, but that’s nothing new. Course selection has always been a stressful time for me, because I like to have everything planned out exactly how I want it but I’m also really indecisive, so it can be difficult to figure out what I want. My usual worries were even worse this semester, as I am nearing the end of my degree, so I have to organize my courses well so that I can graduate as soon as possible. To make matters worse, I also decided to do a minor in Publishing, which adds more courses and pressure, as I have to make sure I take all of the requirements in both Publishing and English. I have to roughly plan the rest of my degree, but that’s difficult when course offerings are different each semester and I can’t always see what is offered in future semesters.

To make matters worse, several of the courses I needed to take this semester conflicted with each other, which meant that I had to choose what to prioritize. I kept worrying that I was making the wrong decision and that my choices would make my life difficult in future semesters, but I can’t do anything about it so I had to just choose the courses I thought were most important (or the ones that didn’t fill up immediately) and hope that it would all work out. I also had problems enrolling in one class because I found out after trying to enroll that a certain amount of seats were reserved for students in a specific program, which is fine, except that it did not state that anywhere and as a result I had to enroll in another course to make up for it. Additional problems I found were that not many third- and fourth-year courses are offered in my major in the spring semester, meaning that the same number of students were competing for a smaller amount of classes, and some of the classes I was hoping to get into filled up before my enrollment appointment.

As it turns out, my problems aren’t even the biggest issues. Some students are stuck in university for much longer than they planned because they can’t get into one or two specific courses that they need to graduate, because these courses are only offered once a year and/or they always fill up. All of these problems point to a broken system that desperately needs repair. Students should not have to struggle so much to get into the classes they need and complete their degrees. Not being able to get into required classes or required classes not being available causes a severe amount of stress and forces students to spend more money taking courses they don’t need or spend time waiting to take those courses and delaying their graduation. Taking classes that you need and graduating on time should not be difficult, so why do universities make it this way? More importantly, what will it take to get them to stop using a broken system that only creates more stress for students who already have enough to deal with?

Week 11 Process Post

Currently, my only source of social media integration for my blog is the Instagram account I made for it. On that account, I have a link to my blog in the description, and most of my posts encourage viewers to go back to my blog to read my recent posts. It is going well so far, as I have amassed a fair amount of followers and my blog has gained viewers from Instagram, but I could definitely do better. I do not post on my Instagram as often as I should, as I sometimes go a week or two without posting anything, and this causes people to unfollow me or diminishes their interest in the content I post. My goal is to post on my blog’s Instagram twice a week to gain followers and bring people to my blog, in addition to creating a place where my followers can get to know me and interact with me.

I have not received many comments yet, and most of the comments I receive are either encouragement from friends or promotion of other people’s Instagram accounts, so I am hoping to encourage active participation in the future. I would like to be able to pose questions to my audience and have discussions with them in the comments to create loyal fans and allow them to get to know me. I believe that I will need to build a bit of a bigger following to do this, as most of my Instagram followers are friends or people promoting their own accounts, not random people who are genuinely interested in my blog. I am hoping that I can keep posting content and promoting it on my Instagram to gain more fans and facilitate interaction in the comments of both my blog posts and my Instagram posts.

There are several reasons why I decided to focus primarily on Instagram. For one, Instagram is probably the most popular social media platform right now. Facebook is far less popular than it used to be, hardly anyone uses Twitter, and even Snapchat is not as popular as it once was. Logic follows that if I promote my blog on the most popular social media network, I will be able to acquire the most followers. Additionally, Instagram is my favourite social media platform, and the one that I use the most, so it is easiest for me to promote my blog there. Another reason why I am using Instagram is because I think it complements my blog well, as it is a personal blog that consists primarily of essays, so I like that I can add a visual aspect with my Instagram in addition to giving my followers the chance to get to know the person behind the blog. Based on research I have done, consisting of looking at the social media accounts of other bloggers, I noticed that many personal bloggers have Instagram accounts and it seems to work out well for them, so that encouraged me to create an Instagram for my blog as well.

I cannot see myself making a Facebook page for my blog unless it becomes extremely popular, as it feels a bit vain to make a Facebook page when I am not famous. I imagine that the only people who would like my page would be my friends, which beats the purpose. Twitter might work better for my blog, as it is short written content and could allow people to get to know me better. My only trepidations are that Twitter has fallen out of popularity and that I rarely ever use my personal Twitter account, so I would be worried about either forgetting to update my blog’s Twitter account or not receiving any attention or followers from it. For these reasons, I will likely stick to Instagram for now and focus my attention on promoting my blog and creating content that people want to see.

Peer Review 3

For my final peer review, I will be reviewing Erika Cocco’s blog, The World of Irish Dance.

Erika’s blog documents her journey to become the Western Canadian Regional Champion in Irish Dance, while also educating readers on the training and work involved in being an Irish Dancer. Her homepage is simple yet appealing; it shows her blog title, main menu, a white background, and a massive picture of her dancing. This picture adds some needed colour and visuals to her homepage, and as one of the first things viewers see when they go to her website, it creates interest and its tagline makes the focus of the blog clear. The typefaces she uses on her homepage work well together and complement her blog’s simple aesthetic.

I did notice a few things on her homepage that could use some improvement. Her Instagram widget does not work, as I tried to click on it and could not reach the site. I would suggest that she fix this so users can check out her Instagram and see some dance-related pictures in addition to learning more about her life outside of Irish Dance. Erika also has a Recent Posts widget, which is helpful for users, but it mostly shows Pub 101 posts, which are not the reason why people would visit her blog. She should update it to show only her dance-related posts, as that would make it easier for viewers to find what they are looking for. Additionally, the blog posts on her homepage are underneath a Recent Posts section, which is confusing as she also has her Recent Posts widget that shows different posts. I would recommend that she remove the Recent Posts tag above her homepage blog posts. Lastly, she has a Category widget, which is very helpful, but it is underneath her other widgets, and would work better underneath the search bar so her viewers could easily choose what they want to read.

Erika’s About page is very informative and helps me get to know her and understand the purpose of her blog. It is very effective at drawing readers in and piquing their interest in her blog. Beside the About page is an Achievements section, where you can select different competitions and see where she placed in them throughout the years. I like the idea of it, but I wish these posts talked about her experience in each competition instead of just listing her placing, as it would make the reader more interested in the results.

Her blog posts are very interesting, and I really enjoyed learning about her experience as a dancer; however, a few changes would make these posts even better. The typeface she uses is very small and hard to read, so I would suggest making it bigger, especially since her pictures currently take up more space than her text. I noticed some grammatical errors in her posts as well, so it may help if she proofread them before posting to make them look more professional. Her posts also contain long paragraphs that would benefit from being broken up into smaller sections. I additionally noticed that it says the author of her posts is “admin”, which appears impersonal, so I would recommend that she either remove this or change it to her name. Erika’s posts are also quite short, with some of them only consisting of one paragraph, so I would encourage her to write longer posts to tell her audience more about her experiences, as I am sure they will be eager to learn more about Irish Dance.

Lastly, I noticed that Erika has not posted on her blog in over a month, which makes it difficult to attract and maintain an audience. Michael Warner discusses this in “Publics and Counterpublics”, stating that publics “commence with the moment of attention, must continually predicate renewed attention, and cease to exist when attention is no longer predicated”. Erika’s blog would benefit from her keeping up to date on her posts, as it would maintain her audience’s interest and keep them coming back.

Overall, Erika’s blog is very interesting both to Irish Dancers and those who would like to learn about Irish Dance. I would recommend that she make a few design changes to make her blog more visually appealing and user-friendly for her audience, and that she keep up to date with her posts to keep viewers engaged and encourage them to revisit her blog.

Why I Decorate for Christmas in November

It’s not even halfway through November and I have already put out all of my Christmas decorations and started listening to Christmas music. I may seem crazy, but I do this every year and I have no regrets. Christmas is my favourite holiday and always has been, so I like to decorate as soon as I can to enjoy it for longer. I’ve always felt like the Christmas season is too short, as after Christmas ends, all I can think about is how I didn’t listen to enough holiday music, watch enough holiday movies, or do enough Christmas activities. For that reason, after I moved out I decided to start decorating and celebrating the holidays as early as possible in order to enjoy them for as long as I can.

There are many other reasons why I decorate for Christmas so early, and one of them is because of the nostalgia associated with the holiday. As I stated, Christmas is my favourite holiday, and I have many fond memories associated with it. It reminds me of my childhood and of simpler times, when I was carefree and not stressed about everything, and when I could simply revel in the joy of the holiday season. Since I’ve gotten older, Christmastime hasn’t been quite as special, which makes me sad, so I compensate for that by decorating and listening to Christmas music super early to get me into the holiday spirit and recreate the joy it brought me as a child.

Christmas also comes at a time when I am finishing my semester and struggling with term papers and exams, and celebrating it helps relieve some of the stress I experience from school. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with homework, I look at my Christmas tree or I put on my favourite Christmas album and I instantly feel happy, or at least somewhat relaxed. Getting into the Christmas spirit in November helps me deal with the anxiety I experience from working on papers and studying for exams, and gets me through that difficult time while also giving me something to look forward to once it’s over.

Another major reason why I like to decorate for Christmas early is because it helps me deal with my mood changes that are brought on by the changing of seasons, which I believe is a mild form of seasonal affective disorder. As soon as the days get shorter and the weather gets gloomier, my mood is instantly affected. I feel weighed down by sadness and don’t want to leave my house or do anything productive. I will be unhappy for entire days when it is especially dark or gloomy, and I have little energy. I don’t know when exactly it started, but I suspect it began or got worse when I moved to Vancouver, where fall, winter, and spring all consist of gloomy, rainy days. It gets worse after Daylight Savings ends, as when I see darkness in the early evening I instantly feel drained of happiness and energy. I realize that I should probably talk to someone about this, but I have found one thing that helps me deal with it, which, as you can probably guess, is Christmas. When I start feeling down because of the weather, I remind myself that it’s rainy and it gets dark early because Christmas is coming, and soon it will snow and be beautiful. Starting my Christmas celebrations early gives me a reason to be happy in the fall/winter months, and prevents me from dwelling on the seasonal changes.

For me, Christmas is the best time of year, and decorating for it early in November allows me to enjoy it for as long as possible, while also relieving stress caused by school and alleviating symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Because of this, I will continue to decorate for Christmas in November and I encourage everyone else who celebrates the holiday to do the same, so they can bring a little extra joy into their lives during the winter season.