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Ed Woods of Newport is a life-long Mainer.

I don’t know about the rest of Maine, but I find myself glad to see the end of this year. Between the political upheaval and ever present pandemic, 2020 has been a nightmare of a year.

That’s why I have been looking forward to the holidays beginning with Halloween two months ago. They brought a welcome respite from the constant mind -numbing chaos of the year, personified by the ever growing death toll counter that seems to occupy every channel I watch.

I’m aware that even though the lights and tree are up and Christmas carols constantly fill the air in my house, that just beyond the glow of the lights, the darkness looms.

Now, I’m not usually one of those people who needs to be told to take down my tree in April as some of us seem to do. I like to keep the yuletide spirit contained to December to keep it unique and special. Playing Christmas movies all year long just seems to make them bland and ordinary, like a meal you’ve had way too many times in a row. But this year I’ve decided to make a once-in-a-lifetime exception.

This year we’re in for a winter that may defy all effort to describe. Saying it will be “dark” just doesn’t seem to be an adequate term for the death and misery coming our way. There just doesn’t seem to be a word in the English language to encapsulate the cold and soul-numbing months ahead of us.

And that’s why, although it may be a merely symbolic gesture, I’ve decided to extend this holiday season. I’m leaving my tree up this year, along with my Christmas lights on the house. I’m going to be playing carols well into February if not beyond and I may just watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” sometime in March.

I’ve got a feeling that we’re all going to need a little more Christmas this year and if that means that I’m going to be taking down the tree when the last needle falls, then so be it. And I encourage everyone else to do the same.

We need some light to keep us all going through all of this and though it may seem a bit literal, I’m going to do just that.

So forgive me if you hear me singing carols on Valentine’s Day this year. Look the other way when my lights are still blinking on St. Patrick’s Day. And try not to roll your eyes when you see my tree sparkling through the curtains on Easter.

I’m in severe need of some holiday cheer. I think you may need it soon too.