Contributor: Phoebe Yin
Credit: KonArt/iStock/Getty Images
“4:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing. I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness.” This is the Grinch’s festive holiday schedule.
“You are supposed to celebrate Christmas all year round and just take a break from each holiday.” That’s what a Washington resident told the news when they cornered her at a Christmas tree shop. Maybe she believes it, or maybe she thought Santa was listening.
All around the world, the arrival of November 1st creates a division like no other. Pumpkins share the street with Christmas lights, and some resist the urge to listen to Christmas music while others resist the urge to glare at those who do. There’s no resting or digesting. You either rush to hang the lights or get ready to argue. Who’s more justified? Is it ever too early to start thinking about (and preparing for) Christmas?
It’s not NOT that deep
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, almost 90% of Americans start to decorate for Christmas before December begins. Out of this group, around 10% decorate before October even ends. Of course, if it were up to some people, those decorations would’ve never come down in the first place. Some claim their premature Christmas spirit stems from wanting to take advantage of the Black Friday sales that take place after Thanksgiving but, let’s face it: it’s probably because they’re simply too excited. In fact, some of these people even scare themselves so much that they look to Google for answers. “Why does Christmas feel so magical?” “Why does Christmas make me so happy?” “Why does Christmas music make me so happy?” and “Excited for Christmas in August” are only a few of the endless Christmas-related searches.
Believe it or not, there’s research on this. Apparently, there may actually be psychological reasons behind this slightly controversial behaviour. Psychologist Steven McKeown connects the positive feelings associated with Christmas to nostalgia. He reasons that Christmas decorations are visual cues that serve as a reminder of childhood, and either bring back happy memories or act as an opportunity to make better ones. It’d also be pretty difficult to have bitter feelings towards the neighbour with the most cheerful-looking house on the block (unless you hate Christmas that much). So, maybe there’s a more meaningful reason behind the eagerness.
The actual 12 days of Christmas… and not caring
For those who celebrate this holiday, the time at which Christmas festivities begin also depends on what people or families believe marks the beginning of Christmas—in addition to whether or not they can contain their excitement, of course. Technically, December 25th is the beginning. Out of the 12 Days of Christmas, the 25th is the first, and January 6th is the last. If it takes effort to wait until Thanksgiving is over, though, it’d be impossible to convince everyone to wait another month. With all the desserts to bake, movies to binge, albums to blast, gifts to make or buy, lights to hang, and advent calendars to open, it’s no wonder 90% of Americans feel the need to get started right away. Procrastination doesn’t apply when it comes to Christmas. For some, the drop in temperature or change in the month is enough of a sign. Read that list of Christmas-related activities again. Can we blame them?
Luckily for us Canadians, Thanksgiving is in October. It’s definitely more acceptable to bring out the Christmas spirit in early November here, compared to in the US. Or maybe we’re just too nice to judge people based on how much they like a holiday.
Where to go (or run away from)
Many cities claim to be the “Christmas Capital,” which goes to show how you can’t escape Christmas enthusiasts if you’re not one yourself. Some of these cities include Grapevine in Texas, USA, Winchester in England, Strasbourg in France, and Copenhagen in Denmark. Of all the places to belt out Christmas carols during what could be considered unreasonable months, these are probably the safest.
So, who should we attack?
The average human can only sit through so many sappy movies about a 20-something high achiever who left their hometown to chase their dreams, goes home for the holidays, runs into their high school sweetheart a questionable number of times, saves the town with said high school sweetheart, reminisce about the good old days, get back together, and live happily ever after. Even so, there’s nothing wrong with loving Christmas, and there may not be something wrong with hating Christmas if there’s a good reason. Let’s put our differences aside and focus on the more important debates, like whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza.
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