November 1, 12:01 am. Sleeping soundly in your bed, something conjures your mind to consciousness. You sit up, bleary-eyed and groggy. You hear something in the distance—faintly, but it’s there. It sounds almost like… bells. A melody sings its way to your window and settles into your room. You recognize it. It gets closer, and closer, until suddenly, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is blasting. Garland and ornaments explode along the walls and you find yourself dressed in an ugly holiday sweater and a Santa hat.
Halloween is over—and there’s no turning back. This is it. The holiday season has begun.
Each year it seems that hints of Christmas creep further and further into early November. It feels like there is no space for thoughts that are not centered around Christmas during November and December. A trip to Target finds a swarm of holiday pajamas, each adorned with reindeer and a caricature of Santa’s cherry red face. The radio blares Christmas music shamelessly when it’s still above freezing. Holiday deals are plastered on the TV before you even have a chance to finish Nightmare on Elm Street.
Personally, I am all for starting Christmas as soon as socially accepted. I love the magic, the music and the emphasis on giving. Christmas never fails to remind me of the people I love and cherish. Baking cookies, watching Elf and celebrating the holidays with my friends and family has become my favorite time of year. But even I cannot deny that the commercialization of Christmas is force fed into our minds alarmingly close to Halloween, or exceedingly early in general. What other holiday do we celebrate two to three months in advance?
It’s not that people aren’t allowed to celebrate the holidays earlier than everyone else—it’s that we’re being told to.
Perhaps Black Friday embodies the commercialization of Christmas perfectly. The day the stores turn a profit is also the day that we forget Thanksgiving was four hours ago and turn our sights to the sales. It’s about getting the best price on the perfect present for the cherished loved one. In the rush of the crowd to find these items, it’s easy to give in to the corporate view of the holiday season.
I’ve never been one to give in to the cynicism that the hullabaloo of Christmas is the result of capitalism. I chalk my love for the holidays up to the importance of spending time with family and the giving nature of the holiday. The traditions I have with my family on Christmas Eve are little things I look forward to year after year: the candlelight church service, looking at lights, getting new pajamas just before we go off to sleep. These are what make Christmas special to me—not the gigantic inflatable Santas on the neighborhood lawns or the 50 percent off holiday items sale at Macy’s.
The holiday season is all about kindness and joy. Sometimes it’s difficult to find these things in the world, especially with materialistic ideas and cynicism pushed on us from all sides. So, if some people want to embrace giving and generosity and celebrate them before December 1, who am I to say no?
And for the love of all things holy, give Thanksgiving the respect it deserves!