TAMPA, Fla. — There is no doubt 2020 has been a stressful year amid a pandemic full of loss and people out of work. But now, some families are finding a unique way of dealing with that stress in the form of holiday cheer.
Families across the Tampa Bay area are choosing to decorate their homes for the holidays earlier than normal this year in order to bring joy to their friends and families.
Brian Frey, who lives in Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood, always does a large Christmas display in his yard. While normally it goes up after Thanksgiving, this year, he wanted to see if he could put it up a few weeks earlier than normal.
He posed the question on Facebook to his friends and family and got an overwhelming response.
"People lost their minds," Frey said. "Yes, do it, yes do it!"
He said many people told him they needed the warmth and nostalgia that comes with holiday decor as we face another difficult few months of COVID-19, including the worries about gathering with our friends and families for holiday celebrations.
Frey also thinks many people are ready to put this year behind them.
"I mean, there are so many words to describe 2020. I think people just want 2020 to go bye-bye," he said.
We asked you on Facebook if you decorated early this year and got dozens of photos of your trees, lights and menorahs.
Some of you even put up displays as early as October.
The City of Tampa getting into the holiday spirit a little early as well by putting up their snowflake lights in Gaslight Park in mid-November.
Social and volunteer groups like Ladies Heights Happy Hour posting encouraging messages for people looking to decorate early, saying there are no rules.
They are also acknowledging that it's been a tough year between COVID-19 and this year's general election.
So, if you're on the fence about putting up your decor earlier than normal this year, Frey says go for it. There are no "rules."
"Anything that anyone can do to lift anyone's spirits," he said. "If that means a little twinkle, some Christmas lights, do it."