When Does “The Christmas Season” Start?

| December 1, 2010 | 1 Reply

The Washington Post’s Story Lab blog asks an interesting question today: When does the Christmas season actually start?

Is your tree already up? Have you already got an inflatable Mrs. Claus in your front yard? And is everyone in the house good with that? For a holiday story we’re working on as December approaches, we’d like to hear your thoughts on when is the “right” time to throw the switch on holiday decorations, holiday music, Christmas DVDs and the like.

Some families put the lights on the Friday after Thanksgiving, buy the tree on Saturday, turn on the Christmas music five days before December even arrives. Others, hoping to stem the tide of Christmas creep ever further into November, try to hold out until just a few weeks before the Big Day.

First, let me say this is actually quite a clever way for the WaPo to get content for its fluffier “human interest” stories. Instead of having the reporters go out and do “man on the street” interviews, they start a blog that brings the readers to them in a way that invites plenty of comment and discussion that can provide grist for other stories beyond the one suggested in the post. Well, played WaPo!

But back to the original question. As far as I’m concerned, the “season” doesn’t actually begin until mid-December. I don’t have a problem with folks getting their Holiday cheer on right after Thanksgiving. One of the local radio stations in my area flips over to 24/7 Christmas music on midnight that begins the day after Thanksgiving. That’s fine, though I think that even a month of “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” wears on you to the point that you’re tired of it when the day finally arrives. In no case should you break out the Jingle Cats before Thanksgiving. Don’t cheapen an important holiday.

I like to have my tree and decorations up on either the first or second week of Christmas. I admit I’m a big kid at heard and I’ve found that 10-14 days builds just about the right amount of anticipation and excitement before the big day. I used to go to bed as early as possible when I was young, so I could get to Christmas Day faster but I don’t do that anymore. Now, I stay up well into the wee hours to watch the Christmas Mass from the Vatican (though I’m not Catholic, I love the music and the atmosphere) and the sacred choral music specials on my local public television station.

Okay. So, that’s that. No Christmas before Thanksgiving and make sure you put them up about two weeks before the day itself. That pretty much settles it.

Well, except for gift-giving. Look, I don’t know who started spreading the idea that it’s okay to give gifts (outside of a work setting) before Christmas Eve, but please stop. Your work party should be the week of Christmas, not earlier, and your family Christmas gathering should be on Christmas Eve of Christmas Day, unless some sort of emergency crops up. Holy cow, folks. Let’s keep some traditions intact, can we?

So how do you stand on the questions? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

UPDATE: Upon further review, I’ll waive the December 15th date for those who have extensive Christmas tie collections. Wouldn’t want to deprive the world of those beauts!

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