Christmas in October: The Holiday Tease-on

Writer Jane Campbell talks about Christmas coming early — but not in a good way.

It’s no secret the holiday season tends to roll into the retail world increasingly earlier each year.

Although Thanksgiving Day falls in late November, turkeys can be found trotting through the home decor aisle in August. Like many others on move-in day, I had to make a trip to Target to acquire items I had left at home. There, I was shocked to find pumpkin spice everything, autumnal wreaths and serving platters before the season had even began.

As November begins and we say farewell to the Halloween phantoms, I recognize the pattern is repeating in the form of a premature wintery wonderland. 

Last month, in search of a dress to complete my Halloween costume, I took the red line down to Loyola’s Water Tower Campus and walked through the many shops the surrounding area has to offer. Much to my dismay, there were Santas instead of skeletons everywhere I turned, rendering my quest unsuccessful.

What I encountered first-hand was a phenomenon known as the Christmas Creep, where businesses prematurely stock the shelves with seasonal merchandise, appearing to have arrived especially soon this year. The Washington Post attributes this trend to a constant cycle of interspecific competition between corporations to “be the first on the market for holiday sales.”

Mariah Carey announced her annual “defrosting” on Nov. 1 — the very moment Halloween came to an end — and effectively wormed her hit single “All I Want For Christmas is You” back into the public’s ears.

My Christmas wish is for more people to focus on appreciating the present more than the gifts. Our culture’s expectancy for beloved traditions to make a return is warped by the growing push from large corporations, urging us to consume more as the Christmas Creep extends its reign. 

The blame shouldn’t fall entirely onto the producers. As consumers, we feed into their sly marketing tactics with every purchase we make, encouraging them to continue pushing seasonal products earlier to meet our demands.

For many businesses, the winter season is the busiest and most lucrative time of the year, according to retail forecasting website, Retail Dive. Thanks to the spread of holiday cheer and excitement for the upcoming celebrations, people are far more likely to share their appreciation with loved ones through gift giving.

An estimate from this year’s Deloitte holiday retail survey shared that consumers are expected to spend an average of $1652 on seasonal expenses.

Personally, I don’t care to see Santa’s jolly face for the next two consecutive months leading up to his annual field trip around the world. Although it can be exciting to look far ahead into the future and fantasize about the next big thing, I believe we may be focusing on the wrong type of present.

I want to make it apparent, I am no Grinch — my heart also triples in size whenever December rolls around. But Christmas in November is far too soon. The cornucopias are still being arranged, colorful foliage continues to decorate the sidewalk, and I’m in the process of packing up my Halloween decorations. 

So why waste time fretting about the future when you can take in the current moment for what it is? Not every day can be one full of grand celebratory festivities, which is perfectly OK. 

Feature image by Aidan Cahill / The Phoenix

Jane Campbell

Jane Campbell