It seems that Christmas is coming faster than you can say “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Christmas decorations are sold, trees are cut and some people make their wish lists well before October. I predict that on the night of Halloween, stores haul out piles of Christmas lights and start stacking ornaments, wrapping paper and candy canes on their shelves to prepare for the new season. Trick-or-treaters have barely left our doorsteps before we hear “Jingle Bells” playing in every department store we walk into. Thankfully, pictures with Santa will be kept at bay until at least December.
Maybe it is a business idea. Maybe stores decorate early to lengthen the shopping season because then people will buy Christmas decorations over a longer period of time. Maybe they want to sell most of their stock before the season is officially over. But I believe that stores are pushing too much, too soon. I remember when they waited to put Christmas decorations up, meaning we had to wait for the season to start as well. And the longer we waited, the higher the excitement mounted for the upcoming holiday. Stores do not realize that Christmas loses some of its magic when it starts too early in the year and that they are partly responsible for it.
But it could be the media’s fault that we start the holiday season so early. Since at least 2002, several Christmas movies have premiered as early as the first week of November. In 2003, the movie “Elf” opened on Nov. 7 and in 2009, “A Christmas Carol” came out on Nov. 6. This year, “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas” hit the theatres on Nov. 4. Music is the same way — on Oct. 18, Justin Bieber published his single “Mistletoe” on YouTube to the delight and dismay of many, but it disappointed me that it came out more than two months early. We were already singing about “chestnuts roasting” and “winter snow” before Halloween. Shopping malls were not even selling their seasonal merchandise yet, but maybe the artist felt that it is never too early to get in that holiday spirit — after all, it is “the most beautiful time of the year.”
Certain department stores have more of the right idea. Nordstrom has a strict “no Christmas” policy until after Black Friday and they continue to hold true to their word this year. The store does not seem to be ashamed of their decision and publicly broadcasts it in front of their store on a sign that reads “We won’t be decking the halls until Friday, November 25. Why? We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. Our stores will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving festivities. On Friday, our doors will open to ring in the new season in style. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.”
Now that’s more like it.
By the time it is here, we are already sick of it.
Christmas is in December. Let’s keep it that way.