Christmas starts too early

Business centerpiece graphic of a survey of consumers showing that 2 out of every 5 begin holiday shopping before the end of October; includes information on what people are buying and where and an image of a jack-o-lantern wearing a Santa hat. Chicago Tribune 2007

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Feeling depressed, I decided to listen to some Christmas music to cheer myself up. WNIC started their 100 percent Christmas music, so I used that. While getting to the site to listen online, I had the age-old question, a question forced upon us year after year by toy companies, store chains and all Christmas radio: is Christmas before Thanksgiving too early?

The standard answer seems to be “yes,” or in this case “yes, stop beating the dead horse.” And yet, I feel the need to tenderize the meat before cooking. They eat horse meat in Europe. But I digress. Again.

The two biggest complaints with Christmas season starting earlier are one: Thanksgiving is ignored or glossed over and two, by the time Christmas does arrive, we’re Christmassed out and the actual holiday doesn’t mean as much as it should. The proximity of final exams to Christmas, even with the long break, probably doesn’t help either.

Thanksgiving is unfortunately easy to ignore as much as possible, what with the relatives you hate, the cranberries from the can that become the shape of the can and are supposed to be kept that way for “tradition.” There’s also the fact the star of the season, the turkey, is considered an extremely stupid bird that is celebrated by eating it after cooking it in one of several different methods.

The next problem is, of course, that the bombardment of Christmas for two months can put a damper on one’s holiday spirit, especially whenever you go shopping. The place has Christmas stuff set up everywhere, as if to force you to think about buying stuff. You try to have holiday spirit when those three-feet high decorative nutcrackers are gaping at you. Those things are a hazard.

However, Christmas should be enjoyed as much as possible. It is a time of pretty lights, free stuff, and bleeding-heart liberals pushing the other holidays that come near the season. I have no problem with the term “happy holidays,” or the fact Hanukkah was there first or Kwanza exists. I like candles, but Christmas has a wider base so I’m going to move on.

Thanksgiving should not be ignored, forgotten, or overlooked. Nor should its real history be glossed over. Christmas and Thanksgiving can be enjoyed together, because, like it or not, Christmas is forced on us before we want it. Limit your exposure to savor it later, or enjoy it in its entirety for as long as you like. Either way, just remember that poor bird and his very tasty body.

Christmas arrives on the whims of marketing experts, regardless of our own desires or needs. We can either fight this early Christmas and wait until after Thanksgiving, or we can embrace both holidays at once. Whatever you decide with your holiday conundrums, make sure you enjoy them as much as possible, because it is the key to getting over this over-Christmassed and Thanksgiving-bypassing time.

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