Winter is here. Seriously. I'm not kidding. It's bleak right here in southern Louisiana. It's cold, rainy, and sunless. All the sugar cane has been harvested, and the fields are brown and bare. The pasture is a muddy mess with very little green grass. The horses have the winter blues. Don't ask me how I know. I can just tell.
The dismal weather and the long winter nights are good reasons to keep Christmas a little bit longer. When it's dark at 5:30 p.m., I enjoy all the little white lights on the Christmas tree. I like seeing the tiny lights around the nativity scene in the dining room. I like the lights with the Santas in my kitchen window, and the ones draped around the Magi on the mantle. All this cheers me up during the long, dark evenings.
I'm still listening to Christmas music, too. The weeks leading up to Christmas are so busy, it's hard to find time to fully appreciate the music. Now that all the preparations are past and it's quiet, I can listen to the music instead of just hearing it as background noise.
So --- Christmas is staying at Bywater Farm until Valentine's Day - on purpose, not just because I'm too lazy to pick it all up. The Inn at Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, keeps Christmas all year, so I can surely keep it until Valentine's. I'm not even going to apologize or explain. When people stop by and say, "Oh, your tree is still up!" I plan to smile and say, "Yes, it is!"