Leaves are turning vibrant shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown, pumpkins being deconstructed for pies and treats, crisp air at high school/college football games, friends and family gathering at home to celebrate life… all scenes that are second nature to any New Englander. Well, maybe you do not need to be from these select states to experience the beauty of autumn. Although the scenery is just not the same as a Connecticut fall, Maryland's orange leaves peeked through at the start of November and pleasantly surprised me. Fall is a beautiful month - the change of seasons and natural beauty blossoming in nature is like nothing else - but, that is not what attracts me to this time of year. I am not really a fan of "spooky szn" (or anything Halloween, for that matter), gloomier nights, or even the month of October in its entirety. I have found I have a love for the fall season… after October. I have realized that just means I am in love with the holidays - the day after Halloween marks the first day of the holiday season. So, I guess what I am trying to say here is that I LOVE the holidays… and November marks the beginning of the best time of year.
The moment, and I mean moment Halloween ends and the month turns over to November, the countdown begins. It starts off slow and steady the first few weeks of the month - fall festivities are still completely embraced, and autumn is in full swing. Although in some places the leaves just begin to change color and make way for cold weather, the season is in its prime. Then, almost magically, a few weeks into the month as Thanksgiving approaches, it officially becomes the holiday season. And the moment Thanksgiving is over, Elf is put on, and you prepare to hop into the car at 2 am to pick up your best friends and get your holiday shopping on for Black Friday. Pumpkin spice lattes turn into ingredients bought for pumpkin pie, the holiday ads takeover, the local mall is decorated with a big red bow, people coming home one by one, Christmas classics are pulled out to be watched after Thanksgiving dinner - this whole fall aesthetic flips and the nation prepares to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
As a college Freshman, I will be coming home for the holidays for the first time ever. It becomes an occasion to go home and see friends and family. Once midterms are over and Halloween has been celebrated (multiple nights in a row), November begins and you feel at ease. These first few weeks are holding on to the best parts of fall, and after going home to celebrate this holiday kickoff, the next few weeks are full of Christmas cheer that gets you through the rest of the semester and through finals. Everything, although so overwhelming, becomes a little more bearable.
The best of a New England autumn and an extended holiday season - what's not to like? It's the best of both worlds for a girl who could take or leave Halloween but counts down to the holidays. And whether you love Christmas as much as I do or not, a feeling of togetherness and community graces the month, and the world gets a little happier. We should be grateful we live in a world with Novembers.