Seasons of Nostalgia

Seasons of Nostalgia

The last two posts were some thoughts on reruns. Rather than muse on that topic some more, today calls for something different, but related.

Allison’s Collection, Fall 2020

Consumer culture puts a lot of emphasis on seasons. Spring, summer, fall, and winter fashions. Spring, summer, fall, and winter home decor. Holidays within the seasons call for different food items, candies, accessories, etc.

I was quite young when I fell for fall. It was always my mom’s favorite season, so I was surrounded by a lovely collection of decorations, including things I hand-made at home with Mom and my sister at the kitchen table, or at school with my friends. Those memories alone are the best kind of nostalgia, in my book.

Around middle school (mid to late-2000s), I felt my holiday sentiments being heavily influenced by the shopping industry. We all know that Christmas decorations started inching their way into stores earlier and earlier each year, and a few years after that, fall fever began to brew before the season’s official start (especially in my hometown in Florida, where we had to create our own autumn).

I don’t espouse a right or wrong way/time to start observing various seasons. Theoretically, we fall fanatics get excited at least by mid-September (often earlier). Then the October mood shifts to Halloween for some people. November brings a notion of patriotism for Veterans’ Day, and every four years, for the election… But overwhelmingly, harvest-esque images are the norm as Thanksgiving approaches in the US. I won’t be putting up my Christmas tree before Thanksgiving this year, but I have done that in the past.

I notice the songs, TV shows, and movies that hum of the holidays. Fall is funny when it comes to music. There are divine jazz standards like “Autumn Leaves” and “Autumn in New York.” In the Christian faith, we have several hymns about giving thanks to God for abundance. Rom-coms are well-suited to “cozy season.” Television, though, brings a larger variety for the holiday season. I had the privilege of writing several articles about Halloween as portrayed in various kids’ movies (yes, Disney Channel Original Movies) and in sitcoms across the decades. More recently, I examined Thanksgiving as depicted in sitcoms acquired by Netflix and Hulu.

The pattern of these holiday months thrills me, but I’m content to take stock of today as I look at my beloved leaves. I’ll come back to Thanksgiving and the remainder of the season as it gets a bit closer, but for now, I’m pondering the rituals of my favorite time of year and unpacking the nostalgia we feel for holidays past.

PS-This entire post was inspired by my walks in Michigan, where I’ve watched the leaves change and fall each week. For a simulation of those fall colors, check out an article I did on Gilmore Girls and fall foliage here.

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