Christmas Music in November is Not That Bad

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved Christmas. I wasn’t raised to be religious; I’ve only ever been to church services for choir performances, but Christmas is my favorite time of year. My entire neighborhood always wraps the trees along the sidewalks in bright white lights, the town square in my hometown has a tree-lighting ceremony complete with a visit from Santa Claus, and my family puts up not one but two Christmas trees. Christmas for me has always meant seeing faraway family, listening to great seasonal music, and taking a break from the business of school and extracurriculars for two or three very cozy weeks. Plus, there’s the added bonus of all the Christmas parties for every activity: work Christmas parties, Christmas events at school, and Secret Santa or White Elephant swaps in all of my extracurricular clubs and friend groups. With all of that, it’s no surprise that I always want the Christmas season to start as early as possible—as soon as Halloween is over I get out the little Christmas tree I have for my dorm and start playing “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” But the 1st of November also brings another part of the Christmas season that isn’t my favorite: the torrent of people online and in-person that will rail on for hours about how it’s too early for Christmas to start. And while this has never upset me, it’s always confused me. I get that not everybody wants to put out Holiday decorations in November, that doesn’t bother me at all, but I don’t see why people get so angry when people do. 

The main argument I always hear about the Christmas season starting “too early” is that it obscures Thanksgiving. The first issue with this is that Thanksgiving is not a season. Unlike Christmas, there aren’t tons of traditions that occur in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, there are no cheesy Hallmark movies to be watched or music to be listened to (although I will contest that A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a cinematic masterpiece). I don’t think we need to be wearing reindeer antlers to Thanksgiving dinner, but the days leading up to Thanksgiving would be totally normal if not for the early jolliness of the Christmas season, so what’s wrong with making those weeks (which, let’s face it, are full of papers, deadlines, and extracurricular mayhem) a little bit more festive? 

The really confusing part of the “is it too early for Christmas” debate is that people stick to their sides so vehemently. People will get into actual arguments over whether or not it’s okay to play Michael Buble in the car before Thanksgiving. The question is, why do people care so much about how other people celebrate the holidays? I know not everyone celebrates Christmas or is Christian, and that sometimes the holidays mean difficult interactions with family, but often the concerns I hear from people about others celebrating Christmas early aren’t genuine expressions of discomfort (that would be a very different issue). The complaints end up coming from people who also celebrate and have positive associations with the holiday policing when other people are allowed to get out their red and green decorations because they don’t like it. At the risk of sounding like a baby boomer who falls asleep after one cup of eggnog, I think that these days, people are too attached to opinions on things that don’t really matter. Like the pineapple on pizza debate, the fight on whether or not holiday festivities can start before Thanksgiving, it is just not that important. Of course people are allowed to have their preferences, but on an issue as small as what day Christmas music should start playing, those preferences really don’t affect anyone else, and they don’t need to. Decorating early doesn’t cause any harm to anybody else, just like waiting until December 1st to bring out the ugly sweaters doesn’t hurt anything. So why are people shamed for doing things that bring them joy? Not everything needs to be a black-and-white issue where people are immoveable on their stances. Sometimes it’s okay just to let people be. The holidays are supposed to be about togetherness and caring, so we should be focusing on being kind to one another, whatever time we start getting festive.    

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