On premature holidaying

christmas tree in shop windowMartin emails about issue that's been simmering with us, too:

I think we all agree that mmerchandisers and television ads begin celebrating Christmas too soon. I was in CVS a week before Halloween and store employees were stocking Christmas chachkas. Last night my wife suggested we dig out Christmas decorations and start decorating for the upcoming holiday, but I still I think it's too soon, and that we should wait until after Thanksgiving. We've sparked a great debate among friends. How soon is too soon to start decorating/celebrating Christmas?

Premature holidaying has been going for a long time, but we seemed to notice it a bit more this year. Maybe it was the radio stations that started playing Christmas music weeks ago. Or the (admittedly great) Christmas tree we spotted in a shop window at the beginning of November. And now there are retail stores planning to open on Thanksgiving day.

Our take: Getting out the holiday decorations and all that before Thanksgiving is too much. It's like... opening a present before Christmas. And starting it all around Halloween is downright ridiculous.


I heard Christmas music on the radio at Sears on Nov. 1st. It was sad....way too early in my opinion. Christmas music should start after Thanksgiving!

Nice picture of the waiting area of The Cuttery on New Scotland.

My 5 year old son was digging on the white Xmas tree last week when I was in for a cut.

Retailers cannot wait to get our money. The sooner we begin purchasing, the more we actually purchase. Next year there will be Christmas sales immediately following Labor Day. You heard it here first.

For me the Halloween season starts Oct 1, Thanksgiving the day after Halloween and Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Anything else violates the natural order of holidays in my world.

Hallmark rolls out Christmas stuff in July... way too soon.

It's unfortunate, but it's all retail-driven. The sooner they can get consumers thinking "Christmas", the more likely they are to spend money. Personally, we celebrate *Advent* during the four weeks before Christmas, then celebrate the old-fashioned "12 Days of Christmas" from Dec 25 to Jan 6. That means that we start decorating shortly after Thanksgiving, but don't get to putting up a tree until the 22nd or so. Some years, we're happily decorating the tree on the 24th. That's just our personal way of fighting back against Christmas Creep.

If the word "November" is still part of the date, it's too early.

I'm a firm believer in December 1st. Although it's hard to fight against the Black Friday mentality, so I'll concede the day after Thanksgiving. BUT NO FRICKIN SOONER!

Lets talk about how long the Christmas season LASTS..at least in our apartment. I think our tree was up until February last year.

So how do we fight back? It seems that the majority of people believe that Christmas frenzy has gotten out of control. I've been avoiding shopping like the plague, but how do we fight the mentality behind the craziness?

We have historically tried to have the bulk of our shopping done BY Thanksgiving (don't be too impressed, we don't buy a lot and most of it is online -- before that it was by catalog). There is usually one terrifying trip to the mall that cannot be avoided. But the decorating? I don't like to have anything up more than three weeks before Christmas, and it's often two weeks, and down by New Year's day. If you've got decorations up for two months, that means you're celebrating Christmas for 16% of the year, which is a bit much.

What would people do if you hosted a 4th of July picnic in early June? Had a St. Patrick's day green beer in February? Attempted to host a Cinqo de Mayo party on the 29th of April? It just wouldn't be right.

Merchandisers should be forbidden to even mention Santa until he makes an appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's like his opening day. After New Year's he goes back to the workshop and can't make a public appearance on any other day (an exception being Halloween for costume purposes).

Oh, what a bunch of Scrooges. ;)

I was overjoyed when 98.3 started playing Christmas music on November 1st and haven't changed the station since. I'm well into my shopping, and would have put up lights by now, but I think my SO would have kittens.


This is not exactly the question you asked--but I also find it disturbing that the celebration ENDS December 26. The original season (the reason the holiday was invented) lasts until Epiphany, which is January 6. The commercial tail has come to wag the historical/religious dog so much that the eleven days after Christmas are no longer really observed--except for shopping sales, exchanging gifts, and spending gift cards.

I think that Diana has a good handle on things... but also tend to agree with the emphatic strength of Slacker's comment... :)

No christmas before Thanksgiving!

It's actually the MOST BORING TIME OF THE YEAR. No holiday that lasts 2 months (and is so formulaic) can maintain your interest.

Ugh. Opening on Thanksgiving only shows whoever made those decisions has completely missed the point of both holidays.

I'm definitely with Diana (and others). While I was growing up, I don't remember Christmas starting before Thanksgiving. Now, it steals the other holidays' thunder! I want Halloween to be about Halloween, and Thanksgiving to be about Thanksgiving. I enjoy the holidays (I swear I'm not a Scrooge!), but it's getting ridiculous.
By the way, 98.3 is one of my favorite stations, and when I tuned in on Nov. 1st to hear the Christmas music, I was PISSED. I couldn't believe it. I won't even watch a holiday themed movie before Thanksgiving.

I'm with Diana and Marcie!

The day after Thanksgiving was always when my family would go shopping for Christmas trees. Not the beginning of November. Now it's "Whenever the hell I feel like it" which is some time after Thanksgiving to right before Christmas.

I agree completely. And as far as Christmas music on the radio (which began about a month ago), please see my blog post: http://advantagesound.blogspot.com/2010/11/screw-pilgrims-or-xmas-on-radio.html

Chistmas is one of the few things I enjoy about winter, so I like it starting early. I hate the cold, so I usually become an indoor species around November. The stimulation of the holiday lights helps quell cabin fever.

Chanukah does arrive very early this year -- the first night is December 1st. Sadly, this cannot explain why my neighbor put Rudolph out to pasture along side the Jack-o-Lanterns.

Music doesnt bother me, store decorations in November dont bother me, october is too early.

I'll tell you who the scrooges are: merchandisers that remain open during thanksgiving. Sure, employees may get paid more, but C'mon, aside from the 4th of July, this is our only national holiday! I'm pretty sure the pilgrims and native americans were not giving thanks for sick deals on blue-ray players and Wii games.

Simply pledging not to shop at these retailers on thanksgiving just isn't enough...

I noticed that tree yesterday when walking past the Cuttery, I thought "well it's a little early, but that Christmas tree kicks ass! I want a white tree too!"

To each their own, I have a couple friends that gleefully turn on the Christmas music Nov 1. Then there are friends that attempt to finish holiday shopping by Thanksgiving. Me, I wait until December.

In order for a day to be special we need many average days to compare it to. If we spend too long building up to a special day it puts a lot of pressure on all of us to make that one day exceedingly extravagant to justify all of that anticipation.

We also need time after a holiday to settle back down from all of that anticipation and feel a sense of accomplishment. One of the reasons Thanksgiving is slipping by the wayside is that it isn't seen as a holiday of it's own anymore, it's the first day of the Christmas season. We don't get a real chance to feel a sense of accomplishment for hosting a large gathering and preparing mountains of food.

Our retailers have developed an urban legend that 3 weeks is not nearly long enough to prepare a Christmas celebration, and that if we wait past Thanksgiving to begin our preparations we will run out of time and produce an inferior Christmas for our families.

Even if you have 30 people to shop for you will very likely find presents for more than one person in each place you shop. Everyone likes to receive more than one present on Christmas, but you don't need to provide a mountain of packages for each person either. In fact, opening large piles of presents can become tiring and aggravating instead of being a joyous event.

A live tree takes one day to purchase and set in place. Most people like to let the branches settle for a few days before decorating but adding the decorations doesn't take days, it takes hours. If you enjoy lighting your house and yard that may take a day or two depending on how organized your supplies are. If you're competing in a decorating contest you may need to start early, but you don't need to plug in the lights before December.

Preparing for a Christmas meal shouldn't take any longer than it took to prepare for Thanksgiving, and we're usually not frantic to buy those supplies before Halloween.

To my friends and neighbors who are excited and anxious to start celebrating Christmas as soon as possible, let's enjoy each holiday to the fullest in its own time and settle back into our average lives in between so that we can truly appreciate all of our holidays.

There is only one way to combat Christmas creep; Thanksgiving music.

KM's comments are right on. I don't celebrate Christmas, however, I know many historical Christmas traditions. Ever see Boxing Day celebrated here? English people do. How about 12th Night? It's the same as Epiphany. Twelfth Night is often used as a time for Morris Dancers or Mummers to perform winter dances. In some communities 12th Night is celebrated by story telling and music. The 12 days of Christmas -- one favorite holiday song -- can be used as a reminder to keep your tree and decorations up.

I have my own method of combating Christmas creep. If it's before black friday and your store is decorated for Christmas, is playing Christmas music, I walk out! Furthermore, you go on the "naughty list" of merchants I avoid shopping in until Christmas is over. Radio stations that play Holiday tunes before that date? I delete them from the push dial, they don't come back on until Jan 7.
When merchants start taking losses due to their obnoxious exploitation of the season, they'll be forced to obey the rules WE dictate to them. No Xmas before Black Friday.
BTW Hats off to Nordstroms, they get it! The don't decorate until black Friday, and wish thier shoppers Happy Thanksgiving. I plan to visit them with my money!

Hi there. Comments have been closed for this item. Still have something to say? Contact us.

The Scoop

For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Thank you!

...has 27 comments, most recently from Ashley

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine