Our View | Turkey or Mariah Carey?

The age-old argument of when the winter holiday season begins

Published by The Rocket, Date: November 5, 2022
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Our View is a staff editorial produced collaboratively by the entire Rocket Staff. Any views expressed in the editorial are the opinions of the entire staff. 

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As spooky season ends and the pumpkins, spider webs and skeletons get taken down, some are preparing for Thanksgiving while others are setting up their Christmas trees.

Ornaments before turkey

In world full of stress, people often associate the holiday season with fond memories they hold from childhood. This time of the year breeds a feeling of warm, nostalgic happiness, and there should be more time dedicated to that feeling, starting in November. Plus, there aren’t many Thanksgiving-related tunes.

I think that today [Nov. 1] is the start to the holiday season,” sports editor Tyler Howe said. “I for one, will have my tree up, no matter what my girlfriend says, in the next couple of weeks. It makes the holidays more fun when they last longer.”

Daylight saving time occurs in November. Though people are gaining an hour of sleep when we “turn the clocks back” on the first Sunday of November, this also means people are waking up when it is still dark outside.

Epidemiology, a medical journal, said there is an over 11% increase in depressive episodes around the time of daylight saving.

When Christmas music and some holiday decorations make people happy, why not produce those positive feelings as early as possible?

‘It’s not even Thanksgiving yet!’

One of the biggest arguments against celebrating the winter holidays too early is that by doing so, you are “skipping” Thanksgiving.

Each holiday in the latter half of the year has its own designated time: Halloween in October, Thanksgiving in November and Christmas/winter holidays in December—after Thanksgiving.

Those who are against celebrating the winter holidays before Thanksgiving would rather save the celebration for December to keep the festive feeling fresh and distilled.

I don’t want to drag it out by starting the celebration right after Halloween,” advertising manager Katie Shope said. “I’d rather appreciate the weather, lights, movies, music and everything the holiday brings during December.”

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a part of Thanksgiving tradition for many families, features Santa Claus at the end of the parade, signifying the beginning of the winter holiday season.

Black Friday also typically signals the end of the Thanksgiving season and the beginning of the holiday season. In the United States, it marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Capitalism’s impact

Retailers have skewed peoples’ perception of when the winter holiday season starts because of how early they start playing Christmas music. Large corporations start playing holiday music midway through November, but sometimes as early as the beginning of the month.

Stores like Walmart and Target begin stocking the shelves with ornaments and Christmas lights immediately after Halloween. As soon as the inflatable witches are taken off the retail floor, they are replaced with a large display of lightly frosted artificial Christmas trees.

Sometimes, they don’t even wait for Halloween to end: One Rocket staff member saw their first Christmas advertisement on Oct. 15.

A two-month long holiday season cheapens a special part of the year. The holiday won’t hold the same charm.

Sophia Bills, assistant copy/web editor, believes this to be a point of holiday contention. 

“Celebrating the holidays and selling the holidays should have different timelines,” she said. “Celebrating can take up as much time as people please, but it disgusts me when companies capitalize on our feelings of joy and nostalgia for as long as they can.”

No matter when you start celebrating the winter holiday, there’s no doubt that companies take advantage of the season to get more money out of people.

An article from The Guardian put it perfectly: “Corporate Christmas is a market-tested, prepackaged, shrink-wrapped box full of emptiness that peddles religious tradition as a mere product. The oddity is that this money-changing, profit-making and strangely competitive version seems diametrically opposed to the ‘reason for the season.'”

The Rocket staff is conflicted on whether the holidays should be celebrated before or after the Thanksgiving season.

Then there are those who don’t mind it either way. Assistant sports editor Aidan Treu addressed those who wish to experience Christmas as early as Nov 1., saying, “If people find joy in that, good for them.”

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