When ‘Tis the Season?

Claire Coker and Peyton Zarate

As Thanksgiving has officially come to a close, the big debate  in the holiday-enthusiast community resurfaces: when to start celebrating Christmas. Two Current writers, Claire Coker and Peyton Zarate, take on this debate. 

Representing Team Post-Thanksgiving is Peyton. While she is arguing for a delayed Christmas season celebration, she is not a Grinch and enjoys Christmas immensely (just at the appropriate time). Claire represents Team Year-Round. While she doesn’t have anything against Thanksgiving, she argues that Santa doesn’t just watch you in December; people should be celebrating the spirit of Christmas year-round.

Q: What is the appropriate weather to start putting up decorations?

Peyton: I, for one, feel very uncomfortable standing in 50-degree weather and looking at Christmas lights on a tree with bright orange leaves.  Christmas is thought of as white and snowy. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to wait for the leaves to fall or for the temperature to drop dramatically before blowing up that inflatable Santa. Christmas decorations in mid-fall just don’t give the same feeling and, quite frankly, ruin the spirit by the time the 25th of December rolls around. I believe the magical Christmas season is limited to December for a reason: it’s supposed to be a special time when happiness is concentrated. 

Claire: Peyton, last time I checked, your family was putting up decorations on November 18th. Waiting for the “White Christmas” Bing Crosby sings about is anticipating the next “snowmageddon” which only happens every few years. Some places, such as restaurants, have lights year round for their pleasant and welcoming aesthetic, so they must be good for business.

Q: Should Christmas music overpower Thanksgiving festivities? If not, when is the appropriate time to “jingle all the way?”

Peyton: To address the Christmas decorations, Claire, they were put up against my will, and if it were up to me, we would’ve strung the lights on Black Friday morning while blasting Christmas music. Admittedly, Christmas music is far superior to the five real Thanksgiving songs I found (“The Turkey Tango” included), but that doesn’t mean you can’t be festive. No one gives Easter any flack for the lack of cheery songs. Most holidays can’t compete when compared to Christmas, so is it really fair to say Christmas music should be played when Thanksgiving-specific music isn’t available? I think not. 

While I do agree that the Christmas spirit—exhibited through kindness, generosity, and joy—should be present throughout the year, Christmas music isn’t necessary to keep these characteristics alive. Save Mariah Carey for the 25-day countdown. Additionally, if Christmas songs are played prematurely, they can easily become overplayed, losing its magical feeling by the time Christmas arrives.

Claire: Maybe not any pop hits, much like the case for Thanksgiving, but Easter music does exist, and from what you’ve shown me, saying five real Thanksgiving songs is a stretch. I think most people would agree with me when I say not every song is a winner, but Christmas music is timeless hence why it’s played every year.

Let it go on the record, “overplayed” isn’t in my vocabulary when it comes to Christmas music; it always puts me in a good mood. I went on a cleanse recently per a bet I made, and it was mildly dispiriting. Music is a vital part of Christmas traditions, and that just may not be the setup for other holidays.

Q: What do the holidays mean to you?

Peyton: Christmas music isn’t the only source of joy; Thanksgiving has plenty to offer in the feelings department. For me, the time leading up to Thanksgiving provides space to be thankful without the music or decorations drawing attention. I’ve always had such fond Thanksgiving memories in NYC with my family—including ice skating in central park and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in the freezing cold. The Thanksgiving spirit, though similar to the generosity of Christmas, has its own unique feeling of (internal) warmth and gratitude. Even though the Thanksgiving season isn’t as flamboyant as the Christmas season, Thanksgiving’s distinct sentiments deserve the few weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving to itself.

Claire: All contrasting opinions aside, Christmas is ultimately about the happiness and kindness that we should all strive to incorporate, regardless of the season. It’s a contagious spirit; it brings people together: friends go ice skating, siblings make (and spill) hot chocolate, neighbors have snow battles, and families cuddle up on the couch to watch Christmas movies. Let’s not forget decorating the tree with nostalgic ornaments or cookie-making which may or may not lead to flour getting in your hair. Like many other holidays, it’s an occasion and in some ways, an excuse to connect.

Claire and Peyton: Whether it be for the breaks from school, family, or food, holidays hold special places in peoples’ hearts. Happy holidays, everyone!