This is an opinion piece.

It’s less than a week to Thanksgiving Day, but it’s already starting to look a lot like Christmas around our home in the Painter community.

I knew my beautiful bride, Malarie, had been accumulating more Christmas decorations since we moved into my late parents’ home this summer, and she began displaying them during the first week of November. I believe her intention is to make our first Christmas in the country an extra special one.

Before Malarie entered my life, I never got serious about Christmas until after the Iron Bowl. Needless to say, I’ve learned a wife, and children, change your perspective about when the Christmas season kicks off.

On Nov. 5, my beautiful bride shared a post by Christian speaker Nathan Teeters on my Facebook page to help me understand her thinking about Christmas:

“It seems like some of y’all are already VERY confused. Let me take a few moments and explain to you what is going on. The first half of Christmas started today [Nov. 1]. It goes until the 25th of November, at which point we will participate in a halftime called, ‘Thanksgiving.’ After Thanksgiving, we will resume with the 2nd half of Christmas. Carry on.”

My 5-year-old son, Brady, started making his Christmas wish lists in late August. Yes, I mean lists. He pulled out a few sheets of construction paper and asked me how to spell the items he wanted on the lists.

To make things move faster, I took over filling out the lists while he shared what he wanted. Santa Clause and his elves at the North Pole would have to work overtime to fulfill Brady’s lists.

Neither my 7-year-old son, James, nor Brady wished for a white Christmas, which probably tops Malarie’s list. In case you’re wondering, you’ll never hear me say “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

I promise we’re going to celebrate Thanksgiving and be thankful for the bountiful blessings the Lord’s bestowed on our family. Four of those blessings for me are Malarie, James, Brady and Maggie Jo. I’m grateful I get to spend every holiday with them.

It will be our first Thanksgiving in the home that Daddy and Mother built, and memories of holidays spent with them there are burning brighter in my mind as we enter the 2021 holiday season.

Be sure you say “I love you” to the ones you love this holiday season. I sure wish I could still tell my parents that.          


Shannon J. Allen is publisher for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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