It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

I know, I know. A lot of people feel strongly about the phenomenon of "Christmas creep," and honestly, I do too. It bugs me to see Christmas goods for sale, and decorations installed as soon as Halloween has passed. In my opinion, the Christmas season really shouldn't start until after Thanksgiving. This year, however, as I face an immensely busy December, the premature start of the holiday festivities has become a blessing in disguise, as it allows me to fit more celebrating into my packed schedule. Today, for instance, I took an extra day off of work for my Thanksgiving break to sneak away to the Museum of Science and Industry to see their annual Christmas exhibit, "Christmas Around the World," with Justin. It had come up in a conversation with him a few weeks earlier that we had never seen it, so I was determined to make time for us to go together this year.

The enormous tree in the central rotunda features Muppet-themed ornaments in conjunction with the museum's other special exhibit, "Jim Henson's Fantastic World." Though you can't see it in this picture, there Kermit is sitting under the tree looking up at the lights.

Justin and I also walked around the rest of the museum, including their scale model of downtown Chicago. I had to stand on a step to be taller than him in this photo.

"Christmas Around the World" features 56 Christmas trees donated and decorated by local families and business, each reflecting the holiday traditions of a different country. Since there was not a single entity doing the decorating, the trees are extremely variable in quality. Some give a definitive sense of place and tradition, while others could have hailed from any generic department store. Some are covered in elaborate ornaments, and other look... well... like they were decorated by small children, in all honesty.

In a strike of serendipity, Justin and I showed up in Christmas colors without planning it. If we were the type of people who sent holiday cards, we could have gotten our photo today.

Oddly enough, my two favorite trees hailed from Asian countries. The South Korean tree on the left featured origami versions of traditional Korean apparel, and the Japanese tree on the right featured a variety of paper ornaments, including garland fashioned from paper cranes.

Although the Christmas trees weren't quite up to par with my expectations, it was still fun to get in the holiday spirit with Justin, especially since we won't actually be celebrating Christmas together. We'll both be with our families that day, so it was nice to have a festive day together, even if it is still technically November...

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