The Christmas season shouldn’t start so early


PREMATURE: The Christmas season now begins long before Dec. 1.

Ever feel like Christmas celebrations are occuring earlier and earlier every year? That as soon as Halloween is over, holiday advertisements and holiday music are popping up everywhere? There’s a term for it: Christmas creep. Christmas creep is essentially the sense that the Christmas season is arriving earlier in the year, with holiday themed decorations, merchandise, music and more ushering in what’s known as the happiest time of the year prematurely. 

Yet, this is no Christmas blessing; Christmas overtakes other holidays and the season simply lacks the magic that once buzzed in the air.

The holiday season is known for joy and good spirits. There is just something about this season that you can’t put your finger on: from that feeling of sipping a hot chocolate while strolling through Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo, to getting comfy in front of the TV to watch a nostalgic movie, the holiday season is one of the most anticipated events on the calendar. Yet many forget to acknowledge that what makes this time of year so special is that it is gone in a blink of an eye. After all, no one ever gets that excited about a mocha latte, yet they are so excited about that seasonal Starbucks Peppermint Mocha in the holiday red and green cups. So, when Christmas time goes from a matter of weeks to a matter of months, the anticipation dies down. By the time the season is in full swing, it’s not as surprising or anticipated, since we’ve already been watching the ads, buying the gifts and viewing the decorations for a few weeks. Pushing the season up in the year therefore dulls out the uniqueness of the season and the season begins to feel a little more normal, more mundane, especially as it shares the spotlight with other holidays that come before Christmas.  

The early start of the Christmas season does not just dampen the holiday magic, but can even induce more stress, particularly for gift shoppers. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people say that they feel increased levels of stress during the holidays. This is no surprise when people experience pressures around finances due to holiday shopping, especially during times of inflation, coupled with the constant concern of beating the clock to be prepared for the big day. So, when retailers jumpstart the season earlier in the year – a marketing tactic to convince people to spend more for longer – the pressure is turned high for shoppers to begin taking advantage of those deals and available stock on the shelves. That added pressure from the Christmas creep, during an already stressful time, ruins the holiday spirit before Dec. 1 even arrives. 

While the early start to the season does no justice for Christmas itself, it also robs other holidays of their own glory. When Christmas decorations, sales and ads launch the day after Halloween, they take over. At every turn, it’s Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, totally undermining any holidays that occur before Dec. 25. Suddenly, these holidays, including Thanksgiving and in some cases Halloween, are overshadowed with a tsunami of holiday themed content, taking away from their own seasons and festivities. 

The early start to the Christmas season, which is historically anytime before Thanksgiving, is harming both the glow of the holiday itself and the holidays that come before it. While the idea of the happiest time of year growing in length seems to be one that equals more holiday spirit, it may be more fulfilling to enjoy and truly savor a shorter holiday season. So, perhaps, instead of diving into all your favorite Christmas movies, treats, traditions, and more, now, it might be worth waiting till the last slice of pumpkin pie has been eaten.