With Christmas songs already taking over the radio and festive decorations filling the stores, it’s safe to say that the holiday season is quickly approaching. Every year, the Christmas season seems to grow longer and it’s now creeping to the beginnings of November, even though Halloween was barely a few weeks ago. I look around my neighborhood and notice that already, a lot of people have decided to start hanging giant ornaments from their trees or stuck candy canes into their lawn. Cars speed down the road blasting Jingle Bell Rock with evergreen trees strapped to the top holding on for dear life. Friends and family have started preparing for the big 25th. And me? I’m not having any of it. Here’s why.
Is it too early to be talking about Christmas? It’s a simple question, yet its answers have divided the nation. No? Yes? There are many valid reasons behind either, but I lean toward the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season. It’s filled with warmth and happiness (and good smelling candles!), but I think that in some cases, we should tune down the early hype.
In a poll conducted in early/mid-November, I asked students whether they thought it was too early to discuss Christmas. To my surprise, the results were close, with 51% agreeing that it was too early, 41% saying that it wasn’t, and 8% shrugging with no opinion.
Let’s start by stating one of the biggest and most obvious reasons why it’s much too early to be discussing Christmas: the chronological order of holidays. It’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. By favoring one holiday over another, you’re essentially prioritizing its importance. Thanksgiving is historically important to the United States, but it seems although people only really see it as a hindrance obstructing the view of the Christmas season. No one seems to really bother learning the significance of this one day devoted to feasting on turkeys and being thankful for those around us. Yes, both Thanksgiving and Christmas hold lots of meaning, and while one may be more favored than the other, neither should be labeled as more important.
Also, by preparing the Christmas festivities too early, you are stretching the buildup until the big 25th. The excitement becomes less energetic if you’re waiting over the course of a long time and decorations may become boring after seeing them constantly, reminding you of a day that won’t arrive for another month. By hyping up the Christmas spirit too early, you may cause stress to fall onto other people. I feel as though as children grow older, they become more and more accustomed to expecting gifts from friends and family. It’s also not uncommon for some to expect presents that are more on the expensive side. The value of specific items of interest can cause mental stress to the buyer, as they are now expected to spend/earn enough money to satisfy the person in question. Planning out and buying Christmas gifts can be a whole hassle that some people just aren’t ready to deal with yet.
So when should you be putting up those Christmas decorations? Traditionally, Christmas trees are supposed to be put up on the first day of advent, which follows the Christian faith of honoring the advent season, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. This year, the first day of advent lands on November 29. My family doesn’t exactly follow any sort of tradition in terms of a specific time to put up our tree, but one thing has always been clear: “turkey first, then the tree”. Also, think of it this way: if you buy/put up the tree as early as November, there’s a good chance it will be dead by Christmas. Most people find that they put their trees up in late November or early December, allowing room for Thanksgiving to have its space, while also preparing for the upcoming Christmas day.
However, 2020 has not been very kind to most, if not all, of us, and with our current circumstances, it's fair that my opinion will also slightly change. Normally, I’d look at a Christmas tree being put up in early November with a bit of judgment or sigh as I saw Thanksgiving being stepped all over to make way for Christmas, but I think that this year, we’re going to need all the joy that we can get. A lot of us can agree that we’re ready to see the year get over and done with, and are in need of a bit more happiness in this glum day-to-day life we’re living in right now. So bring on the Christmas songs, the hot chocolate, and the bright, festive string lights!