Holiday celebrations: how early is too early?

Katrina Sanville, Arts Writer

With Halloween celebrations coming to a close, many stores are taking this as an opportunity to begin displays and advertisements for the winter holidays. Despite it only being the beginning of November, it can be hard to escape bright Christmas trees, twinkling lights, and the ever-so-slightly annoying music. But this begs the questionwhen is it too early to start celebrating the winter holidays?

Hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot seem to be putting out their holiday displays sooner and sooner every year. Even with Halloween displays still up, stores are beginning to haul in truckloads of plastic trees, jolly inflatable Santas, and tree skirts covered in glitter. Department stores are not much better, either. Big box stores like Target and Walmart see the day after Halloween as the perfect time to bring in holiday decorations and clothes, decked out in glitter and tacky phrases. Generic fall decorations—such as those that say “Happy Harvest” rather than “Happy Halloween”—barely get to see the light of day.

Turning on the television or opening YouTube is no different. The Hallmark channel, infamous for their borderline tacky Christmas movies, has already begun their “Countdown to Christmas” movie marathon. YouTube ads seem to be encouraging viewers to buy holiday gift sets of makeup, perfume, or baking supplies. All of these advertisements can get a bit annoying, and even feel like harassment. A lot of people still want to enjoy the fun of fall before the candy canes, icicle lights, and winter festivities begin. “Autumn” people may want to enjoy the colorful leaves, apple cider, and pumpkin spice flavored treats before having to pull out their winter coats and holiday decorations for the winter months. Not to mention, the fall season seems to be getting shorter and shorter—both from a climate standpoint and a business one. While some grocery stores may bring out their pumpkin spice flavors in August, the fall decorations do not come out until after September. On the contrary, though, holiday decorations begin to show up in displays starting in October. Things like Christmas cookies and peppermint mocha coffee creamers pop up on shelves soon after. Starbucks’s signature red cups and menu for Christmas return on Nov. 7, and the holiday menu at Dunkin’ returns Nov. 4. Christmas music channels, singing tunes of Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and the birth of baby Jesus, start playing songs as early as November on premium programs like Sirius XM, or the day after Thanksgiving on traditional radio stations. By the time December hits, it can be near impossible to escape the cheerful tunes about Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman. Some people have expressed that the stores and music usually do not ruin the festive spirit for them, but rather their own families or friends. “The stores aren’t the ones who ruin the spirit for me,” said freshman Jillian Gilbert. “My family already kind of does that instead.” Most families start decorating for the holidays after Thanksgiving, while others wait until Dec. 1 in order to dedicate the entire month to the winter festivities (1). Having the decorations out early may seem like a bargain for some, and a way to get the best decorations before everyone picks through them. However, for others, these kitschy decorations can ruin the holiday cheer before it even begins. Whether the holiday season begins Nov. 1 or Dec. 1, after the candy corn is eaten or after the first snow, there are few who can deny that the holiday season truly can be the most wonderful time of the yearwhen it’s celebrated at an appropriate time.