Are We Making A Mockery Of Christmas?

 

Christmas in November?

I had to check the calendar today. Anyone would think that it’s December 20th. Three houses on my street have Christmas lights up, one has a wreath on its door and the house opposite us has had a Christmas tree up for over a week. On Facebook last week, four or five friends posted photos of their Christmas tree and one of my colleagues told me she’s got her entire house decorated in a festive way. Today, around 20 more people on Facebook and Twitter have referred to buying or decorating their Christmas tree. We even took our three-year-old to see Father Christmas today (disclaimer: the whole of December had sold out and through gritted teeth, I bought tickets for 30th November. I kind of hate myself for doing this.) Christmas has most definitely started.

Yet it’s still November.

Since when did we start celebrating Christmas in November? Growing up, we bought and decorated our tree some time between the 15th and 20th of December. We were talking about, and planning, Christmas long before that of course, but we didn’t start celebrating much sooner than that.

When – and why – did it all change?

I blame the retailers. They’ve always started ‘celebrating’ Christmas sooner than most, and they’ve got to really. They hope to boost sales by whacking on the Shakin’ Stevens, whacking up the tinsel and offering gift sets galore. Often, shops doing this acts as a helpful reminder to me, to start making a mental Christmas present list for my family members.

But things have started to change. 25 years ago, the January sales were big news. Then, 20 years ago, it was all about the Boxing Day sales. We’d rush to the shops, bellies still full of turkey and Quality Street, to pick up some bargain buys with the vouchers we’d received as a present. Then, when I was a student and working in a well known department store (it rhymes with ‘Febenhams’) I was aware of us starting our sales on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve, I thought? This is a bit crazy. But a bonus to anyone who hasn’t done their Christmas shopping yet and can get a real bargain. And slowly, since then, the start of the sales has crept further and further forward, until the last couple of years when the beast that is BLACK FRIDAY has hit our shores. (I’m not even going to touch on the fact that it’s a post Thanksgiving shopping event in the US and we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK – there has been plenty of that on Twitter.)

So now, the January sales start in November, which is great when it comes to saving some cash doing our Christmas shopping. And I guess the retail world has changed so much in the last few decades, so it has to adapt and keep up with shopping habits. Fair play, shops.

But it’s our decision to align ourselves with the shopping world’s “Start Of Christmas” that bothers me. Us normal folk have stopped rolling our eyes at the bauble-clad-shops-playing-Buble-in November and we’ve actually bought into it! The bosses of the retailers must be rubbing their hands with glee (I also imagine them standing at the top of a glass sky-scraper, wearing a power suit, laughing an evil cackle….). They have actually succeeding in convincing us that Christmas (which, let’s just remind ourselves is a ONE-DAY event based on the birth of Jesus Christ) starts in November.

Yes, you could argue that children have long started celebrating on December 1st, with advent calendars, but that’s opening a door to reveal a picture in the build-up to Christmas Day – build up, not daily all-singing all-dancing celebrations. And I kind of get the December 1st thing – I think it’s blooming early to decorate your house in Christmas kit, but at least it’s the actual month that Christmas falls.

But November?

It’s important to mention here that I love Christmas. Like LOVE it. I’m that person who plays Mariah Carey in the office and gives everyone some tinsel to put around their Mac monitor. I embrace the Secret Santa thing. I love making lists and shopping for everyone’s presents. I take great joy in selecting my Christmas cards each year and even manage to write and post them by the final Royal Mail posting date. The tree decoration evening is done in a serious way – festive music on, Baileys poured, the lot.

But it makes me sad that we’re disrespecting Christmas by starting to celebrate it too soon. We’re making a mockery of it. And Christmas is too special to be made a fool of.

Cadbury's Roses at Christmas

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17 thoughts on “Are We Making A Mockery Of Christmas?

  1. It’s even worse for peeps like me who don’t even ‘do’ Xmas. I only get involved for our little one but deep down don’t bother. (It’s up to her to make her own mind up through life.) its all about the money – get some self control people…
    Carol Cameleon recently posted…A Fussy Faddy Journey…. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

      • It’s mainly moral – meaning that hubby and I don’t agree with the amount of pressure on people to spend what they haven’t got. There’s not enough emphasis on helping the REALLY needy at any time of year, let alone Christmas. We’re trying to show little one about giving happily, be it help or a penny in the street to charity. Maybe boring to some but important.

  2. I totally agree with you. I don’t like putting decorations up early, because by the time Christmas comes I am bored of the whole thing. Last year with the kids pressure we put it up early and I didn’t like that at all. I too love Christmas and I want to feel excited and happy about the whole process. This year I am refusing to get into the festive spirit more than 2 weeks before the big day!

  3. For various reasons, we can’t start the Christmas celebrations until at least the 20th this year. But this makes me a bit sad. I love the build up almost as much as the big day itself. I feel like I’m letting my daughter down a bit by not investing in a tree early and arranging lots of Christmas activities. On the other hand we’ve never been the type to put the tree up before December – to me it sort of feels like too much of a good thing. I love steak for example, but I’d be bored of it if I had it every night for tea! I think you can feel the hype more keenly when you’re a parent. But, on the other hand, you feel the good bits of excitement more keenly too, so it’s all swings and roundabouts I guess, to use a terribly trite cliche.
    Molly recently posted…Boomer 2 in 1 Balance Bike – The coolest wheels around. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

    • Yes – the steak analogy is spot on. If you had steak every day, you would grow to hate steak and that is just disrespectful to steaks.

  4. The dj on the radio station I listen to said the other day “it’s Christmas” and I thought “no, it’s november” radio off.

  5. My mother is Finnish, where traditionally Christmas trees are bought and decorated on Christmas Eve, and I remember guesting up (in Germany) that we would try and keep it to as close to that date as possible. The problem of course is that by that point what is left these days are pathetic little excuses for trees with barely any needles…so we too buy our tree earlier and earlier (scheduled for 8th this year!). And of course once you’ve bought it you want to enjoy it for as long as possible, right…? (Because they ain’t cheap, after all). So we resist prying it up until I can take the kids pestering me no more, and each day closer to Christmas counts as a personal victory to me!
    Julie recently posted…Things I still can’t do at 40. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

  6. I love Christmas and I love the whole build up but I honestly couldn’t agree with you more. I hate that it starts far too early because the shops tell us so – no no NO! And is it just me but does social media make some people super competive about Christmas too? My tree is up first, my tree is bigger than your tree, my creepy elf is funnier than yours.. Arghh!
    (Mostly) Yummy Mummy recently posted…Slendertone Abs – getting started. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

  7. I used to be like you. I used to wait until really late and hate the idea of decorating early. This year I’m completely the opposite, our tree went up last night ready for the start of advent. We are all so excited by the whole festive season that we just couldn’t wait. I think a huge part of this is that my son is 4 this year and learning about advent and the Christmas story and he wanted a tree with a star to support to guide the wisemen!

    Not quite accurate but it’s important to him
    Ramblings Of A Suburban Mummy recently posted…Butlins at Christmas. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

  8. Our tree usually goes up the weekend before Christmas (mainly because I have to wait for the OH to get the decs and tree down from the loft!), but this year it didn’t get put back up there. I’ll likely put it up the week before. Although it’s a bit strange celebrating Christmas this year because my mum’s so ill and I just don’t know what Christmas will end up being like.

    I love Christmas, but like you, advent’s about the build up. I like seeing other houses with lights, but November is a bit insane, and even the beginning of Christmas for trees is madness. I just think it’s way too long to be winding up my son.
    Emma T recently posted…Silent Sunday. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

  9. Totally agree and do you know what gets me most? The people who put up their Christmas trees in November and then take them down the day after boxing day! It’s actually Christmas until the 5th Jan so they are celebrating it when it’s not Christmas and not celebrating it when it is?! Go figure.
    Katie recently posted…{The Ordinary Moments} #16. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

  10. I adore Christmas too but really don’t wang it dragged out for so long. I start thinking about it towards the end of November and start my shopping then but don’t want to start really getting festive until mid Dec. The time feels more special if you don’t endlessly prolong it.
    3yearsandhome recently posted…Believing in the magic of Christmas. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

  11. I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Because I worked in hospitality for so many years by the time it actually got to Christmas Day I had seen so many turkeys and heard so many “christmas songs” I just wanted to run away and get drunk. Also I am from the West Coast of Scotland where Hogmanay was the bigger thing for us so as much as we celebrated Christmas it was never the HUGE thing. I can’t even remember when we used to put up the tree and decorations I think it was just sometime in December when Mum and Dad had a spare 5 minutes :).

    However I now have a one year old and I am trying to embrace it and come up with our own traditions. I did take her to meet Santa on the 1st of December (the rest of the month was booked up for the Santa I wanted plus her dad goes away today and isnt back till nearer Xmas) but I absolutely refused to do it in November. Re Decorations I have decorated a small corner of the flat but the big tree and proper decorations are not going up until the 19th (My husband gets home then). I try not to pass judgement on people but seriously do not understand why people need to start decorating and “celebrating” in November. C’mon people get a grip!!!

  12. I think the retail industry has shot itself in the foot, it’s now in such a muddle and I know that I now rarely buy anything at full price, because there’s always going to be a sale or a discount voucher coming up… but then again, I do wonder if things are now priced accordingly, so that full sale price is inflated and sale price is what they would’ve charge a few years back (relatively speaking). Anyway, yes, Christmas starting early… never used to like the whole Christmas in July thang of the magazine world and I don’t like it creeping into November in the real word, bah humbug!
    Luci – Mother.Wife.Me recently posted…Randi Zuckerberg says we need to find a tech life balance. Why don’t you check it out?My Profile

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