Celebrating Christmas early

It’s not that time of year yet


By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor

Formerly published in The Other Press. Nov. 2013

It seems each year the gap between Christmases is shorter and shorter, like some festive global warming sucking the life out of every other season. Every November, I watch as some people glow with anticipation, while others frown at all the premature tinsel, lights, and Santa Claus imitators. Now, I hate to defend the Grinches out there, because I’m all about fun and decorations—who cares what religion, holiday, or festival people actually celebrate, it’s all about good cheer—but let’s not have three servings of dessert before dinner; that would spoil our appetite.

I personally never set up Christmas decorations. I consider it a waste of time, although I’m glad other people string them up. Still I wonder why they don’t just leave them up all year round if they like them so much. Is that such a stupid question? Why can’t we have Christmas lights on 365 days of the year? I wouldn’t be angry—then again, we might as well go ahead and celebrate my birthday and Halloween 365 days a year as well. I wouldn’t be angry about that, either.

The point I’m trying to make here is that patience should be a part of the holiday season. It’s an important discipline to embed into our psyche. It strengthens us as people. Anticipation plays a large role during the holidays, and it’s figuratively the heartbeat of the season. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to something, but don’t count the Easter eggs before they hatch.

Honestly, there are way too many holidays and it’s a tad overkill to celebrate one for over a month and a half. Big box retail stores and Starbucks will tell you differently, but we know their plan. In a survey conducted by SOASTA, 77 per cent of American adults didn’t want stores putting up Christmas decorations before American Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November), and 81 per cent felt stores shouldn’t play Christmas music before turkey day, either.

My attitude towards decorations is always akin to my attitude towards chores: just get it over with. But it shouldn’t be. Decorating shouldn’t be a lonesome undertaking like mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters. It should be a shared experience with those we care about. Isn’t that what the holiday is about? So savour it a little, don’t just rush into it and get it done. If you ever feel traditions are becoming a humdrum task, remember you’re not obligated. Nobody really cares if your lights are up at all.

Christmas is inviting, it’s fun, and it brings back all the good memories of childhood, but let’s grow up for a moment and think about everything else in life. It’s not healthy to indulge too much in one thing. We call them traditions, and traditions in their simplest form are rules and guidelines (I know, that sounds horrible, but they are). It’s not a bylaw and nobody is going to get arrested or fined, but the unwritten tradition is that decorations go up two weeks before Christmas and come down 12 days after.

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