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Don’t deck the halls just yet

Alexandra Stembaugh | Friday, November 8, 2013

It’s that time of year. The wind is blowing stronger, the days are growing shorter and the permacloud is beginning to settle in. Boots are fast becoming the footwear of choice, ugly sweaters have emerged out of closets, and Starbucks is once again offering festive holiday cups. This only means one thing: It’s Christmas time.
It is an outrage. November has only just begun and Thanksgiving turkey has barely been considered. November 1 is the opening of some kind of floodgate where people get the idea that it is okay to begin holiday celebrations. Halloween is already last week’s news and the Christmas season has arrived in full swing nearly overnight. Wreaths and trees are proudly displayed in store windows, commercials on TV excitedly announce the arrival of the “holiday season” and some bold souls are humming Christmas tunes. Several of my acquaintances have already boasted of finishing all of their Christmas shopping. For those now stressing, you have only 47 more days until the big day.
I have heard that it is never too soon for Christmas season. The people who say this are the same people who say Christmas is a state of mind, and that Christmas should be celebrated every day. These are the same people who argue with their roommate on when they will be allowed to put up decorations and would simply leave Christmas lights up year round if they could. But there is such a thing as celebrating too soon and, heaven forbid, getting sick of Christmas.
Christmas is my favorite holiday. Post-Thanksgiving is a great time to set up the Christmas tree, but listening to Jingle Bells any earlier than that will have my ears bleeding by the time December rolls around. I love the cheerful music, the spirit of giving and the warmth that decorations bring, but there is a time for everything. Time before Thanksgiving should be spent in preparation for giving thanks rather than focusing on the next big thing. As the day following Thanksgiving, Black Friday shouldn’t be spent signifying the beginning of the commercial Christmas season as a time to trample each other in a race for more material goods.
Some people actually get angry when they see stores and people begin the season at a time that they perceive to be much too early and often simply for commercial benefit. In fact, 77 percent of Americans would prefer that retailers wait until after Thanksgiving to put up Christmas decorations, according to a SOASTA survey. [Editor’s note: SOASTA is a privately-owned technology company that provides services for companies to test websites and web applications.] Commercial gimmicks like Christmas in July turn the holiday into a further scheme to make money. Black Friday is only another manifestation of this emphasis on spending that allows retailers to continually push the Christmas season forward.
We don’t love Christmas for the gifts. I love it for the time I get to spend with family, the snowball fights I get to have with my cousins and the excitement that seems to ring in the air. I love the classic Christmas songs, the focus on giving to others, the yearly traditions and that hot chocolate will always be an acceptable drink choice. I love that Elf will be on TV nearly every day and Christmas sweaters become the norm. Despite of all this, it is just too soon.
Fall and Thanksgiving are among the best times of the year. I want to enjoy the red and yellow leaves and the last of my pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween candy before radio stations switch to playing Christmas music all day long. Before whole-heartedly embracing the Christmas season prematurely, take the time to embrace the wonderful fall season upon us.

Alexandra Stembaugh is a junior studying Economics and English living in Welsh Family Hall. She can be reached at         astembau@nd.edu
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.