The War on Christmas

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the next person who mentions Christmas before I taste turkey gets a kick in the jingle bells. It’s not that I’m a Grinch (although my sister, the Christmas Elf, will gladly tell you otherwise). It’s just that my ability to enjoy the Christmas season is inversely proportional to my level of exposure to it. Don’t get me wrong; we have our holiday traditions, and I love them all. The music, the food, the decorations; most of all I will never forget the look on my sister’s face the year I finally slipped the lump of coal into her stocking for a change. But I digress. The point is that these moments are beautiful because they are rare, they are fleeting, and thereby they are magical.

I remember when I was a kid (and I have never felt older than when I typed those words) there seemed to be an understood rule: Christmas didn’t start until after Thanksgiving. Sure, you might see a few commercials about the big sale at your local department store on Black Friday in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, but it was always in the background, like the siren song of savings before the mad rush of commercialism truly began. First came the parade, Dad would yell at the TV while he watched football all day, then the turkey, and you finished off the night with The Wizard of Oz. The next day would come with its marathon of shopping quite soon enough, and Santa’s lap would be waiting all month long for you to whisper your list of impossible desires to be passed on to your long-suffering parents.

In the last twenty years, and particularly I’ve been noticing it in the last yen years, it’s like the stores can’t wait for Christmas to start. They’re worse than the kids. My roommate told me he was in one store, which shall remain nameless (but it rhymes with K-Mart), and they had a Christmas aisle set up already. Oh, I forgot to mention: this was three weeks before Halloween. It was right next to the Halloween aisle; talk about one-stop shopping. I’m surprised they didn’t have chocolate bunnies out, too.

It can’t be the economy, or trying to lure in the “early shoppers”, because they were doing it before the economy tanked, and there have always been early shoppers (my mother is still finding gifts she “hid” back in August… of 1998). It’s like someone decided to hell with the unspoken rule, and once one person crosses that neutral zone and gets away with it, everyone else jumps on board, and I for one think it’s time we all take a stand. We mock people who leave their Christmas lights up on their homes more than a few weeks into the new year; isn’t it time we boycott stores that put theirs up more than a few weeks before the holiday? Don’t we deserve a chance to celebrate one holiday at a time?

Am I the only one who has seen Mame? Does no one else know the song “We Need a Little Christmas”? There’s a reason that song resonates, and it’s because Christmas is supposed to be a special time, a time of magic and joy. But to be special, it has to be rare. When Christmas gets pushed back so far that it literally becomes “Christmas in July” as the marketing campaigns of my youth used to say, where’s the magic? Doesn’t Santa deserve a few months off?


147 Comments on “The War on Christmas”

  1. I agree! October is WAY too early for Christmas to be present…halfway through November though…I think we’re safe

  2. Reblogged this on Bored American Tribune. and commented:
    — J.W.

  3. Jyo Aadarsh says:

    War on Consumerism, yeah? Breathe it out, Ommmm 😉 Love you!

  4. redjim99 says:

    Excellent words, and I agree totally.



  5. DrFrood says:

    Santa only works one night a year, admittedly it’s a night shift, but even so he clearly gets more than enough time off. Also, I have it on good authority that his elves do all the logistical prep on top of working below minimum wage in what is essentially a sweat shop.

    They tried unionising, but Santa wouldn’t let them.

    They don’t even get health insurance, and up in Lapland it gets pretty damn chilly so they’re often snuffly. No, instead, Santa takes the lions share of the proceeds and because he has very expensive tax advice, he gives almost nothing back to his community.

    And don’t get me started on the reindeer, especially Rudolph – his nose is the result of Santa not complying with statutory regulations as regards safe disposal of toxic waste.

    This Christmas, think of the elves. Think of the reindeer. Give generously.

  6. elliotclaire says:

    I truly agree. I used to treasure Christmas so much but the rampant consumerism is slowly taking away its value.. I wonder when will we ever get tired of it as I am now.

  7. ChildishMan says:

    Not that opinions amount to much, but I share yours. I used to start practicing my jab-jab-jab-uppercut, or at least a psychological version of it, in October in expectation of the mid-November onslaught. And although limiting overall spending/shopping is a good idea, I enjoy the holidays more when I pay attention to the ideas that come throughout the year and then work on making it happen. That way, I’m more invested in the giving and it usually cuts out the stores and sales and crowds, etc. Of course, I usually fail miserably at this but it does work to improve my mood when I can manage to not be a hypocrit.

  8. kimberlyviv says:

    Reblogged this on Insights and Thoughts and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  9. Sherri Ohler says:

    That’s just great writing. You have a new fan 🙂

  10. kri1987s says:

    Long dead Christmas, ’til its way past December 21st, yay!

  11. wolfy says:

    Reblogged this on thewolfmusic and commented:
    Very.. very true.

  12. karenspath says:

    Oh, I hear you. I dislike having Christmas in department stores for months. It does tend to suck the Spirit of Christmas dry before the actual day. That said, as a mother I start buying presents in October just to space out the money. No need to go into debt for Christmas. And I will admit that I buy the candy early because I have waited before and the stuff I wanted for the stockings was gone (i.e Bob’s cherry flavored candy canes, hands down the favorites here!) But we wait until after thanksgiving to decorate or bake or do any of that stuff.

    In the last couple of years we started something new that has really helped control the commercialism and the money and leaves the focus on family and the celebration. Everyone gets three presents, one from Santa and two from the parents. I find that I really think about what I buy. And on Black Friday I might make it out around 8 am to see if the local Wal Mart still has the kids pajamas for a few bucks.

    As for Christmas carols… well I love music and I love Christmas carols so I occasionally listen to Christmas mnusic thoughout the year, especially the religious ones. I think I could listen (and sing) the Messiah any time of the year. Maybe I’m just weird that way…

    Congrats on being freshly pressed. I enjoyed the post.

  13. kidssakes says:

    My daughters birthday is on the 18th of November and so, the rule in our house is that we don’t speak of Christmas till that day is done, but I am with you on this one. Economic times may be tough, but the onslaught of the Christmas marketing anywhere from around September spoils is rather sad. Happy Thanksgiving

  14. These things are happening because people are buying less during the christmas season. With gas, job loss, lay offs, and so on people can’t go wild like they used to. By placing these things out early, people will think they are saving money getting it all done. They figure they can avoid the fustration of last minute shoppers filling their carts a few weeks before christmas.

    As much as I love christmas, it’s a little irritating to see stores across the US decked out for christmas before halloween. Turkeys must be pissed because it’s like we forget abouth thanksgiving.

  15. My fiance would definitely agree with you. He won’t even let me put up the tree until the day after Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving does definitely seem to get short shrift between Halloween and Christmas.

  16. austexman says:

    Christmas is America’s way of trnasferring massive wealth in exchange for Chinese trinkets.

  17. It’s pretty bad here in Australia as well. I saw Christmas stuff in September. Hotcross buns and Easter eggs in January, right after the Christmas stuff have been taken down. I read some news articles that complained about this last year and apparently a fair few buy Easter eggs in Feb.

  18. its just as bad all the hamper providers advertisting for 2013’s christmas here,

  19. I agree, it wasn’t even Halloween when i first seen Christmas decorations been displayed for sale in a shop window, there is to much hype about Christmas and by time it comes and goes i am a happy lad

  20. fromthericefields says:

    Basically it’s just materialism and greed.

  21. I swear I saw Christmas decorations this year at Lowe’s before labor day… My big pet peeve ( besides the obvious one holiday at a time thing) is when you can’t get what you need for the holiday next week because the stores have already clearanced it out and the holiday hasn’t even happened yet! This year I almost broke down and bought a Christmas tablecloth for my table on Thanksgiving tomorrow because that is literally all they had on the shelves last week!

  22. Bob Bonsall says:

    It’s official: I have tasted turkey. Christmas may now begin.

  23. mud4fun says:

    Great post and I agree entirely with your sentiments.

    Mind you, I don’t like turkey so in our house it’ll be when I’ve eaten the first slice of pheasant 🙂

  24. Amen! It is also my opinion that Retailers have ruined the day after Thanksgiving as a fun kick-off to the shopping season. No way can I go out at midnight or 4 AM after serving a Thanksgiving meal. My feet are still numb!

  25. Alison says:

    Christmas in Queensland. By 1pm, the back yard, regardless of whose house you are visiting and how much shade they have, will be at roughly the temperature of the surface of the sun. The children will all be suffering from heat exhaustion and too weak to fight or argue, so now is the time to start drinking.

  26. […] the past I’ve railed against the Christmas excess, particularly the consumeristic aspects of it, starting well before Thanksgiving (and even before […]

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