Charging the Mound: Does holiday spirit begin too soon?

Siddharth Srinivasan

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Molly Benson

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Photo Courtesy of Needpix

Starbucks starts selling these festive winter cups November 1.

Celebrate in December

You all know the feeling. The dawn-time delirium, the anticipation of your Christmas morning bounty. A month’s expectation and excitement, culminating in a truly blissful day spent with the people you love most.

I, too, knew—and cherished—this feeling, once upon a time. But now, as the Christmas season’s tendrils extend their cold reach further and further into the other months of the year, I find my once burning passion for the holiday smothered.

There’s something special about Christmas. It started out as a Christian holiday, but over time, morphed into one people of all religions could enjoy. I’m not a Christian, but the unity and harmony of the holiday made me proud to celebrate it.

Not everybody likes Thanksgiving as much as Christmas. I never did. When Christmas is right around the corner, just a month after Turkey Day, our enthusiasm builds. Our attention will fixate on the holiday season. Retailers seek to capitalize on this seemingly ubiquitous zeal, but it’s going too far when Costco starts selling holiday-themed products in September.

How impatient are we, that our hunger for celebrating holidays can never be sated? That after one ends, we must immediately implement our grand designs for the next?

When the holiday season begins when it’s still 80 degrees outside and the only sign of snow is cough syrup shaved ice, it loses its feeling of novelty. We become divorced from its true meaning.

A quick disclaimer: I realize everybody celebrates Christmas differently. Each and every person has a unique spin on the holiday that endears it to them; I can’t honestly claim that there is a “right” way to celebrate them. I do, however, maintain that there is a wrong way.

Christmas has become a commercial holiday. It revolves around our rapacious urge to consume and retailers’ eagerness to facilitate it.

Now, some people might argue that retailers only tout their holiday themed merchandise to galvanize us for the festive season. But that is a delusion unparalleled. It’s a marketing scheme. The cogs grind and the rusty wheels turn in sync with the mushrooming of society’s consumerist desires.

All these retailers and businesses exploit us, and we allow it to happen. We no longer have Christmas, but a perversion of the holiday.

The joys of an early season

The month of November stirs up excitement for holidays and celebrations to come. There are the remnants of Halloween and Thanksgiving, and then finally more religious holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah. Winter is commonly known as one of the happiest and most cheerful seasons of the year due to the holiday festivities that take place. It seems as if companies and marketers are the most excited for the holidays, with their green and red colored products being released starting on November 1. Is the day right after Halloween an appropriate day to be broadcasting Christmas cheer or should companies wait until after Thanksgiving to start preparing for the holidays?

As many students know, Starbucks has a tradition every year where they produce specially designed red, white and green cups to share the Christmas spirit with their customers. Some people critique this by saying that bringing out these decorations so early ruins the anticipation and also ignores Thanksgiving, but I believe playing Christmas music or drinking out of a Christmas cup is appropriate right after Halloween.

A lot of people like to enjoy the celebration of Christmas as early as they can, and Thanksgiving isn’t necessarily a holiday that can be particularly marketed in the same way as other holidays. People don’t hang up lights for Thanksgiving, so it’s not seen as a very exciting holiday. Putting up lights for Christmas after Halloween makes me even more excited for that morning, but that doesn’t mean that I’m rejecting the fun events that go along with Thanksgiving. 

What Starbucks and other brands like Old Navy (who tend to put their fuzzy Christmas/Hanukkah socks and pajamas on sale) attempt to do is get their customers excited enough for the holidays in order to sell more merchandise. Christmas is my favorite holiday to celebrate, so I become ecstatic when I see that stores have started selling Christmas items, no matter how early.

November 1 is the perfect time to get cozy in a holiday blanket and start watching seasonal movies. It may seem early, and many people may be critical, but the anticipation that comes with waiting for the holidays is greater than the judgement from others.