We all have that neighbour who puts up the Christmas lights, tree, and lawn ornaments the same day the fake cobwebs come down. Any day after Halloween is fair game for their Christmas decor. But the real question is: is it disrespectful to our veterans? Doesn’t decorating before November 11th take away from the sacredness of Remembrance Day? We wanted answers from the horse’s mouth so we got them.

We visited St. Thomas’s Royal Canadian Legion on Poppy Day, November 3rd, and had a chat with Larry Wilcox and Bob Maginn, who served in Korea and Germany. We weren’t expecting the answers they gave us.

Cenotaph black and white veterans st. thomas
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 41, St. Thomas- Canadian Legion Cenotaph, 1957. Image courtesy of the Elgin County Archives.

According to Maginn, “The word is freedom. And that’s what we fought for.” He believes that veterans fought for the freedom to do what you want, whether that’s decorating as soon as Halloween is over or keeping the lights up all year round. In fact, that is exactly what happens at his friend’s house. Wilcox still has his Christmas lights up from last year, and clearly isn’t too worried about it.

Port Stanley Christmas lights gazebo
Port Stanley Christmas lights

There may be reasons to start early. According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, Christmas decorations signify friendliness to neighbours, and residents might use their Christmas-y exteriors to communicate their sociableness. Psychotherapist Amy Morin adds, “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

So throw up that tree, switch on the lights, and Bob’s your uncle.