Editor’s note: This article represents the Con position of our Christmas Pro-Con special. The Pro position can be found here.
Those of us shopping in retail stores throughout November are in for an unsettling experience: a once-silent night that has been bombarded with jingling bells and saccharine carolers. Stores are putting up Christmas decorations when children’s teeth are still rotting from Halloween candy, radio stations are playing “Let It Snow” when heavy winter jackets are still unnecessary, and advertisers are hoping to squeeze the last buck out of Santa’s bloated corpse. All meaning has been leached from the holiday season, and it’s time for the madness to stop.
The Christmas season in America has traditionally started a few days after Thanksgiving, but now, on November 1st, weeks before Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas, stores like Wal-Mart and Target dutifully replaced their plastic Halloween cauldrons with plastic evergreen laurel wreaths. Now there are radio stations playing entirely Christmas music, and advertisers insert Rudolph and Frosty into dozens of commercials, over a month before Christmas.
With the cold winter months quickly approaching, many an early shopper can snag a cheap deal on Black Friday. This post-Thanksgiving frenzy has always led us headlong into the holiday season, as early December envelops all Americans with a Christmas fever.
Thanksgiving is an important holiday, and seeing its resonance engulfed by the Yuletide beast is an American tragedy. It is a secular, historic, and patriotic holiday that focuses on family, abundance, gratitude, and the ever-important cranberry sauce. In recent years, Christmas advertising has been in full-force by November 20, supposedly the peak of the Thanksgiving season. It is deeply disturbing that advertisers, deciding that Santa Claus will sell more diamond necklaces than the pilgrims, have the power to influence the relative importance of these two holidays.
To be clear, I love Santa Claus, snow, candy canes, and reindeer as much as the next person. Indeed, it is my love of the holiday season that makes me feel so strongly about keeping it confined to December. Playing Christmas carols in November is simply too much of a good thing. In this case, less is more. With our beloved winter traditions unnaturally transplanted into autumn, the experience has been diluted for us all. If angry turkeys break loose and storm the reindeer pens, we’ll only have ourselves to blame.