With the end of October marking the end of witches, ghosts and ghouls, the start of November marks… what?
That sentence can be finished in two different ways. Some may say the start of November marks the season of Thanksgiving. Spending time with your family and friends, sharing what you are grateful for. The Macy’s Parade, autumnal decor and a yummy slice of pumpkin pie. November is for Thanksgiving.
But others may have a different idea. Toss out the turkey and deck the halls, it’s Christmas time. Stockings are hung, letters to Santa addressed and the air smells of pine trees and peppermint. November 1st is the beginning of Christmas.
The topic of when to start spreading the Christmas spirit is an incredibly controversial one. On one hand, Thanksgiving is a major holiday at the end of November. While its history is controversial, the ongoing tradition has cemented it as a beloved time to express your thanks with loved ones over a delicious meal.
Yet Christmas is widely regarded as the biggest event of the year. Despite having religious origin, the romanticization and commercialization of the holiday season has allowed it to be celebrated in a secular fashion. It’s nearly impossible to sum up the cultural significance of Christmas.
As a Southern California native, the concept of the holiday season has always been ambiguous to me. Watching movies like “Home Alone” and “Elf” where the characters don mittens and wool caps, running around making snow angels… that is just nonexistent in Los Angeles.
And especially here in sunny Santa Barbara, the lovely beach weather makes it difficult to determine seasonal differences. There is no “first snow” or even really changing leaves to designate when Santa’s coming to town. Maybe the Snow Club will throw a holiday dayger, but beyond that, when is it time to ‘tis the season?
According to the queen of Christmas, Mariah Carey, November 1st is when the celebration begins. The iconic singer of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is known for releasing a video right at the end of October, where she announces (or in her case, sings) “It’s Time!” for the holidays. Over-the-top, cheesy and 100% iconic, Mariah Carey Christmas overrides Turkey Time.
People have verbalized their critique of early celebration, with X user @_Zeets saying “Christmas decorations and music in early November is demented.” Evidence for the opposing side also claims that Christmas unfairly overshadows Thanksgiving, which should be given its own time to shine.
Here’s my opinion: there’s no need to be a Scrooge. I can see how it’s slightly silly to hang up the stockings and blast Christmas music right when Halloween ends. And in 70 degree weather, it’s definitely impractical to wear Christmas sweaters and UGG boots. But who are we to judge how other people experience joy? I’ll say this: I’m definitely not thankful for people like that.
There’s also no clear way to celebrate Thanksgiving beyond the actual day of the event. Unlike Christmas, there is no vast catalog of Thanksgiving songs. While television series have Thanksgiving-themed episodes (my personal favorites being Friends season 5, episode 8 and New Girl season 1, episode 6), the holiday does not serve as a core overarching serial theme. There are a handful of Thanksgiving movies, but the genre is minuscule compared to the insane amount of Christmas-themed films.
And the deep-rooted philosophies at the core of both holidays are similar. Both are a time to spend time with loved ones and express your thanks & gratitude to those around you. The spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas are one in the same. In fact, the blend of the two is what makes the end of the year such a special and cherished time.
Personally, I am pro-festivities on November 1st. As Andy Williams sings in his song of the same name, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” So feel free to string your Christmas lights and blast Mariah for the next two months. ‘Tis-ing the season starts now!