It's OK to ignore the rules - except at holidays
Last updated 11/26/2019 at 4:18pm | View PDF
I’ve always been a rule follower.
You’d think this would have delighted my mother when I was a child. Unfortunately, as I had no siblings, she had no comparative yardstick with which to measure my behavior. As a result, she saw my very infrequent lapses as major transgressions.
Anyway, I unfortunately carried this mindset with me into adulthood. I’ve worked diligently to break some of the “rules” I learned growing up, such as “All the laundry must be put away immediately after it is folded.” I break that rule spectacularly each and every week. I also am in recovery from the practice of completing a task — cleaning the house, putting up the Christmas decorations, finishing an assignment — without taking any breaks whatsoever, no matter how exhausted I am, mentally or physically.
I’ve realized, however, that I have implemented a completely different set of rules that I follow just as assiduously. Most of them apply to the final three months of the year and involve protocol around eating, drinking and enjoying seasonal items.
Case in point: I will not eat or drink anything with a pumpkin spice flavor before Oct. 1 or after Thanksgiving. Period.
I indulge in one Starbucks pumpkin spice latte each autumn (primarily for caloric reasons). This year I strategically timed the purchase of my drink for last Thursday (I won’t bore you with the details).
“How was your pumpkin spice latte?” my neighbor asked me Friday night as we were headed out for drinks.
“Kinda disappointing,” I admitted.
I waited more than 50 days of pumpkin spice season to drink it. There was no way any cup of coffee could live up to that level of anticipation.
Of course, I also have rules about Christmas decorations. One, really. They shouldn’t be up before Thanksgiving. It’s too early. Who wants to see one house that still has its Halloween decorations out next to another house that looks like it should be featured in a Hallmark Christmas movie?
Apparently I have discussed this too frequently in front of Ainsley, who now is even more outraged than I am on with violators.
“Tim and Molly have their tree up!” she exclaimed in disgust one night as we drove past our next-door neighbors’ house before pulling into our driveway.
“It’s OK,” I said, trying to calm her outrage. “Some people like to get their trees up a little early.”
At some level, I recognize I have no right to judge grown adults who decide cramming every single holiday activity into the few short weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas is ridiculous. Certainly a 10-year-old should not be weighing in on this topic, either.
Purists might accuse me of being a hypocrite, because sometimes I forget to keep the baby Jesus out of the manger scene until Christmas Day. And the wisemen appear in our crèche long before Epiphany on Jan. 12 (like the day it goes up).
No matter. I will continue to follow the rules I enjoy and ignore the ones I find inconvenient.
I do know one thing. With no gingerbread latte on Starbucks holiday menu this year (at least in the U.S.), I will be forced to decide between the caramel brulee latte and the toasted white chocolate mocha for my Christmas Starbucks splurge. Rules prevent me from enjoying one before Thanksgiving, but you’d better believe I won’t delay so long that my 450-calorie coffee doesn’t live up to the hype.
— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected]