Opinion: When is the right time to start celebrating Christmas?

Rebecca Sullivant

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December is a month of extremes. The weather has just started to actually get cold, finals are looming and Christmas is coming. One thing all of these events have in common is that we have no control over their timing. But Christmas acts as a focal point for celebration—the epitome of a holiday—and every year, there seems to be excitement brewing a little too soon.

Commercially, the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving, but is this the real Christmas spirit? Should we be getting excited for Christmas yet? Or should we wait until closer to the actual day?

There is a wide range of dates I’ve heard, just this year, that have been marked as the beginning of the Christmas season for different individuals. The earliest was the day after Halloween, and the latest being Christmas day itself. A popular response, though, is December 1st, or as most of my Twitter feed says, “Christmas 1st.”

The “Christmas is hype” tagline is absolutely contagious. I love Christmas for several reasons, but a major one being how the whole world just takes two weeks or so to slow down and take a break from going so fast and so nonstop. As a student, nothing seems calmer than the week after finals, and time really does feel as if it goes slower. But, if the Christmas season starts before finals, can we still feel the eggnoggy excitement for the holiday brewing in our hearts or is it a way we bribe ourselves to make it to the end of the semester?

I argue that the Christmas we get excited for as soon as clothes go on sale and Buddy the Elf can be spotted sailing the Sea of Swirly, Twirley Gumdrops is not Christmas at all; it is actually the place the world becomes in anticipation of Christmas. This is also known as the Christmas spirit.

So when is it OK for the Christmas spirit to start taking over? Well, since this is a major marketing component, advertisements will say that as soon as Santa waves from his magical sleigh at the end of the Macy’s Day Parade, it is open season for vigorous green, red and snow themed decorations. And this, I think, is a good time for us to allow the Christmas spirit to start slowing the world down and reminding everyone to be thankful for their blessings.

This Christmas spirit should not impede on the real reason we celebrate. A peer once said, “Jesus, allegedly, was a baby,” and as you may or may not know, this is celebrated for 12 days. However, it is rare to find someone who celebrates all 12 days, yet it is not at all difficult to find people already getting excited for Christmas. I think we have started to confuse the Christmas spirit with the Christmas season—the collection of 12 days set aside to fully appreciate the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

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