Constant Contradictions: When should the holiday season start?

Festive music, shining lights, and the scent of pine are all markers of the holiday season. But when should you start lighting a fire in the fireplace and singing along to Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album?

With Thanksgiving and Christmas being the most and second most popular holidays according to the Statista website, some people get offended when one overshadows the other. Others think that Christmas, Hannakuh and Kwannza deserve the entire end of the year, from when the cold fronts hit to the New Year. 

“We think that the holiday celebration starts in November even before Thanksgiving,” sophomore Emmett Roden said. “Personally, in my family, we have always started putting up Christmas decorations after Halloween. It’s tradition, and it’s just fun.”

Laura Diamond, freshman, is of both minds. “I think of the “holiday season” starting with Halloween. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve, New Year’s Day. However, I don’t think the “Christmas Season” should start until December 1. My favorite time of year is Autumn. Harvest Festivals, Pumpkin Spice and the Autumn colors are so much fun! But, when Christmas takes over after Halloween, Autumn ends too soon!”

However, some students disagree more strongly. “I am one of those crabby people that if you play “Jingle Bells” before Thanksgiving, I will glare at you with pure hate in my eyes. Halloween needs the full month of October! No Christmas until after Halloween for sure, but let’s give the turkey day some recognition, too,” said sophomore Lucy Jones. 

While both opinions, and the middle ground, are in heavy contradiction and cause a lot of arguments, the holiday season starts when you decide it does. Even so, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each starting point. 

First, we should point out that many holidays happen at the end of the year when almost freezing temperatures make us turn the heat, not just in late December. In addition, not all holidays are as important to everyone as they might feel. Thanksgiving actually outweighs the popularity of Christmas for Americans, with Halloween and Hannakuh not too far behind. 

As Diamond stated, the holiday season can also be individually defined, and not necessarily referencing December 25. Because of this, the holiday season is typically based on tradition and family preferences. 

However, logistically, starting the “holiday season” when it gets cold in October usually means an overshadowing of holidays other than Christmas, especially in public settings. Nostalgia, tradition, and the overwhelming saturation of Christmas in the media, stores and music can seriously diminish the value of other holidays. 

While this is typically unconscious, cold weather is associated with Christmas because of the commercial explosion almost everywhere. This can lower not only the spirit of the holidays that Christmas overshadows, but also Christmas itself because of the droning of repetitive Christmas tunes, the tiring shopping and the bright, distracting lights. Eventually, if not quickly, these things get boring, or as extreme as obnoxious. That is the main con of starting so early. 

Some pros include getting to celebrate with school friends (who are swamped with finals and leaving for break by the time some people start celebrating,) getting to have something to get you through the drowsy, long days at the cusp of fall and winter, and getting to find comradery with fellow Christmas lovers (and debating with grinches.)

Starting celebration of the holiday season later can be negative for the same reasons: you don’t have white elephant parties to go to, pretty lights hung up on your bed to give you some joy while writing a term paper, or the relief of avoiding being called a grinch. 

However, some people prefer to work first, play later. They keep their head down through finals, the last few 9-5 days at work, or the cost of their heating bill all to enjoy the fun of the holidays without interruption or stress. All of those stressors are behind them when their break starts, and all of the immediate tasks that have to be done at the end of year are over. 

The music isn’t grating, the lights aren’t blinding, and the joy hasn’t worn off when the holiday season starts after Thanksgiving. And, as America’s #1 favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, gets its spotlight, as does Halloween. 

For myself, the holiday season starts when the tree goes up. It used to be only a week before Christmas that my parents and I found time. Now, it starts closer to Thanksgiving. Either way, for me, I’ll stick to Frank Sinatra’s classic “My Way” before moving onto his Christnas album a few days before December 25. 

This also leaves space for other holidays without Christmas pushing them aside in early-mid November. You can’t very well ignore the “Monster Mash,” can you? 

Despite Target’s best wishes, not everyone wants to spend an excessive amount of money on cheap holiday decor and snacks in November. Starbucks, we see you, too, and we watched you drop that peppermint mocha onto the menu November 3.

 So, while some may enjoy the holidays so much that they need it to get through the cold, and others get headaches from the snowflakes on the light poles on their drive home, both sides have valid points. Despise the holiday decor and traffic at Dollywood, or adore your November drive while listening to Kelly Clarkson’s iconic “Underneath the Tree.” You do you!

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