Christmas in October, anyone?
Autumn is such a magical time. The last of the crispy leaves are barely hanging to their branches, soon to join the legions of soggy foliage that cover the ground. Days are darker, shorter, cozier. The excitement of Halloween comes and goes leaving a wake of candy wrappers and pumpkin guts.
But the best part of Autumn is all of the time you have to get started planning for Christmas! Christmas is always a rush; getting the perfect tree and trimming it to perfection, picking out the best gifts for every last one of your friends and family, and making all of the traditional holiday recipes. With all that there is to do, why have 12 days of Christmas when you can have 65?!
Fortunately, retailers have heard the pained cries of Christmastime consumers and have extended the cheer and capitalism by yet another week! Look forward to seeing corporate Christmas lights and hearing cacophonous carols the second you run out of Halloween candy, because everyone knows that you can never get sick of listening to "Frosty the Snowman"!
Best of all, shops from Brown Thomas to Dealz have realized what shoppers want the most: to empty their bank accounts by buying useless items! Of course you need to buy candles for your barista and get yet another set of lights and plastic garland for your sitting room. Everyone knows that spirit of Christmas is found somewhere deep in your empty pockets and stacked on top of the mountains of gifts stuffed away in your closet.
Next year we might see stores being decorated in September, and in a few years-time, Christmas joy could begin in June! Obviously all anyone wants are an entire six months of the happiest, most expensive, time of year!
Okay, obviously that’s not true. In fact, most people are complaining about the seemingly premature arrival of holiday ‘joy’. But what is the problem with hanging Christmas lights in late October? It seems that the biggest reason for upset is that there is a sense of aggression exuding from the companies that market Christmas in mid-autumn. When decorations are strung up and festive goods are peddled before consumers themselves are thinking of the holiday, they understand that it’s just a way of corporations trying to profit off of the season. Christmas is going to be profitable anyway, so does increasing the length of selling season really raise profits? Based on the recent social media upset about an even earlier Christmas season it doesn’t seem like people are flocking to get a jump start on holiday shopping.
The entire controversy highlights a different problem: the prevalence of both capitalism and consumerism during the Christmas season. Over the years the problem of stores fixating on Christmas shopping has created the consumer fixation on Christmas the consumption. The better the décor and the bigger the pile under the tree, the better the holiday. It’s all provided a distraction from the more wholesome aspects of the holiday season. For some, Christmas is about celebrating their religion, for others its spending time with family, and some use Christmas as a time to connect with community. Gifts and decorations should be a supplement to the holiday cheer, not the basis of it.
On the flip side, what exactly is wrong with Christmas appearing so early? It can be nice to see the lights and anticipate the rest of the fun that season brings. And it can actually be helpful to get a jump start at the preparations and gift giving that may always be seen as essential. As students we don’t have much to do in the way of Christmas planning other than organizing a 12 Pubs night out and getting friends and family a few budget friendly gifts, but parents who do the decorating, gift purchasing, and party planning, might actually avail of the few extra weeks of prep time.
All things considered, should companies be forced to push back the Christmas cheer to mid or late November? Or is Christmas in October the proper start to getting into the spirit of the season?
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