It’s Nov. 1 and you’re at the mall discussing what happened on Halloween. Suddenly, you notice Christmas music playing in the background and you realize it’s that time of year again when your bank account will begin to drain.
Every year you curse the Christmas commercials that air in October and scoff at the aisles filled with Christmas décor. It’s not that you hate Christmas, you just want time to enjoy the other holidays before trying to figure out how to come up with money for gifts. Then you start to question the need for so many friends.
Christmas time seems to be coming earlier year after year. Once the clock strikes midnight on Halloween night we know Christmas is coming.
Why is this?
Russell Stockard, professor of communication at California Lutheran University who has worked as a market analyzer said, “Christmas sales make the difference between profit and loss … in some ways you can’t blame them for wanting to get you in that shopping mindset.”
In fact Tish Cabezas, Senior Manager in Marketing at The Oaks mall wrote in an e-mail interview, “the process for holiday décor is a year round communication and planning. We start negotiating contracts, settling dates and determining what needs to be replaced throughout the year.”
Does Christmas even have the same spark as it did when we were children? How could it when joy is overcome by the pressure to get a gift?
As Stockard mentioned, for some, Thanksgiving is just the day before Black Friday because they can’t wait to start shopping. He said it has become a contact sport where people fight each other to get the latest toys and deals.
Stockard is right. There are numerous stories every year on the news where people get out of hand and into physical altercations. To think Christmas celebrations all started with a baby in a manger. It went from celebrating the birth of a child to depleting your funds for material things to show someone you care.
This trend of early Christmas isn’t new. BBC news did a story about Christmas coming too early in the UK back in 1998. Cabezas said The Oaks hasn’t changed their Christmas décor schedules in the last five years.
The BBC article interviewed a spokeswoman from Safeway who said they “wouldn’t use up valuable shelf space if they did not sell.”
Cabezas said their schedule for Santa to come is based on comments from guests of The Oaks. Comments made 17 years apart about two different countries both say consumers are the source of the early arrival of Christmas.
Should we really curse the companies or curse the people we know that hang Christmas decorations when the clock indicates it’s officially Nov.1?
You can curse both because essentially one does not exist without the other. Companies start advertising early to grab the attention of consumers who start shopping months in advance. The rest of us that don’t are just casualities of the commercialized holiday.
Stockard said he recently had an experience with an employee of Crate & Barrel where he was told “If you’re not ready for Christmas on Halloween, we’re gonna make you [ready].”
Some people and companies are not going to be made to do anything they don’t want to. Stockard brought up the president of REI deciding not be open on Black Friday so their employees can be outdoors and celebrate Thanksgiving with their families.
Celebrating with family, an aspect some people forget, is supposed to be part of the Christmas experience. A lesson even the Grinch learned.
“It sends a message to children that [Christmas is] about the gifts, it’s about the material things … if we’re pushing something we should push better human relations, and things that strengthen family ties,” Stockard said.
No matter how much we fight it, the commercialization of Christmas has and will always have a strong presence months before Dec. 25. It doesn’t mean your opinion doesn’t matter, it just means you need to stick to your beliefs and show the next generation the true meaning of Christmas.
Published November 11th, 2015