Christmas Before Thanksgiving — An Annual Argument

NOTE: I want this post to cause heated arguments between those who are FOR and those who are AGAINST celebrating Christmas (in particular, listening to Christmas music) before Thanksgiving (mostly joking).

Normally, I try not to be a man of contention. I don’t like to stir the waters, to cause a scene, to bite back in rage. But, and this is a big but (with one “t”), I get pretty saucy every time November 1st colorfully floats down from the trees, hits the ground with a hush, and peaks over the jack-o’-lanterns.

Crawling through boxes to the dark and forgotten corners of my garage in search of a dusty rake or climbing a ladder aimed for my drains with dish gloves and a garden shovel in hand is not what releases my impudence; it has everything to do with the attitude in the Thanksgiving air — an attitude that has nothing to do with gratitude.

The attitude, if put in to words, would sound something like this (probably spoken in a foreign accent that sounds “evil” when overdone): “Christmas before Thanksgiving is the devil, meaning: bad, dumb, not good.”

Just to get it out of the way, I am a hypocrite and bias. I am as ardent a lover of pre-Thanksgiving Christmas celebration and faithful a hater of those who are against early festivities as many are haters of pre-Thanksgiving Christmas and those who support it.

Okay, so I don’t hate those who get mad and post Facebook statuses whining about how their roommate is listening to Little Drummer Boy on November 2nd or about how their local supermarket is already selling candy canes, but I do find them annoying; as they, I am sure, loathe me — he who starts celebrating Christmas with an annual viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween night, followed my around the clock listening to Christmas music (commercial and spiritual), decorating, traditional movie watching and book reading, and so much more. Yes, I am that guy, the one who even Christmas lovers call overkill or O.K. for short.

You have heard the catchphrase, “where’s the beef,” well, here is my beef:

In all my conversations with those who hate celebrating Christmas “prematurely,” I have yet to hear a reason that really makes sense. I will now attempt to make sense of what I have heard.

1. “One holiday at a time. Let’s not skip over Thanksgiving; it, too, is important; don’t cheapen it.”

I have zero interest in getting political or American historical here, but, what I will say is this, if Christmas for you has anything to do with Jesus Christ — His being born on earth so He could save all mankind — then is that not the thing you should be most grateful for? Isn’t that the PERFECT way to celebrate thanksgiving — to put Jesus at the top of your I Am Grateful For… list? You don’t even have to forget or overshadow all the other things you are grateful for.

If Christmas for you is not so much about Jesus’ birth, but more a time to remember, recall, and celebrate the joy and goodness that still abundantly exists in the world today; a time to step up and be a little kinder, a little less selfish and more giving, then is embodying the spirit of Christmas early, bad? Isn’t reminding yourself to be more grateful an attempt to be a better person? Shouldn’t you be grateful for the ability to improve in life?

An aside: I support a Christmas that celebrates both the birth of Christ and the spirit of Christmas (what I consider to be mankind’s attempt to emulate Jesus Christ).

Now, if Christmas is ALL commercial for you; just a stressful time to dwell on “corporate schemes” to make money, to get stuck in crowds at over-packed malls, to never find the perfect gift, to spend money you don’t have, to high five The Grinch and chest bump pre-changed Ebeneezer Scrooge; well, then having Christmas arrive early would be a reason to cringe.

2.) “If you start celebrating now, by the time Christmas rolls around, you’ll be burnt out with everything Christmasy.”

This is the argument that most makes sense to me. But, truth be told; it is very difficult for me to imagine being over-Christmased. For me, two months is too little time; it’s never enough. I find that if you healthily mix the commercial with whatever else Christmas means to you, you will find it’s hard to get too much of a good thing.

3.) “I don’t have a good reason for hating pre-Thanksgiving Christmas celebration. I probably had a parent who hated Christmas music before Thanksgiving and so, without reason, I’ll do the same.”

No attempt to understand this mind set will be made.

I want to end with this: forgive my written bitterness — not very christmasy —  and, I love Christmas, even commercial Christmas.

Somehow, commercial Christmas always takes me back to what I consider to be the true meaning of Christmas. I love that stores decorate before Thanksgiving and play Christmas music once the turkey is tupperwared away in the fridge; I love the colors, the emotion, the busyness (I even loved it when I worked retail for years); I love that a man in William Sonoma got the whole store clapping their approval in an attempt to convince a manager to allow an employee to accept a gift from him (obviously against the rules), I love the movies (I have a long list of must-watch Christmas flicks) and the books (each year I read Christ’s birth story in The Bible,  A Christmas Carol and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever); I love it all. Somehow, the energy in the air, the want to give, the excitement to receive, and the symbolism always reminds me to look up “to that blessed star which led Wise men to a poor abode” (borrowed from Dickens). It reminds me that I am blessed and can bless the lives of those familiar and unknown to me.

I didn’t really want this post to cause fights or sporadic sibling wrestling matches, but I do want it to open up conversation. Why do you like or not like celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving? What does Christmas mean to you? Tell me in the comments below.

UNFUNNY HUSBAND MOMENT: I end my yawns loudly and musically. My yawn is as follows: “YAWWWWWN…AHHHHH, I FEEL GOOD! Na na na na na na nuh, I knew that I would now, SO GOOD, SO GOOD, I GOTTA YOU oo oo ooo ooo. WATCH ME NOW!” My wife LOVES it.

FOLLOW MY BLOG (bottom right)! Have thoughts on Christmas? Want to tell an UNFUNNY MOMENT? Please share in the COMMENTS!



Tagged , , , , , , ,

21 thoughts on “Christmas Before Thanksgiving — An Annual Argument

  1. rromney says:

    Good thing you married a girl who loves Christmas just as much as you do.

  2. For. Anyone who cares about my pre-Thanksgiving Christmas celebrations is stupid.

  3. Laura says:

    I reeeaaallly like this blog. So glad when you post.

    I too, start celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving. I have always felt like the people who complain about pre-Thanksgiving celebrations of Christmas are grouped in the same category of people who trash talk on Chuck-A-Rama. They whine and complain and make fun but deep down they know it’s awesome.

  4. Scott says:

    Yeah, why do we Pre-Christmasizers have to hide in fear from the Others?

    Where I work we would play music on a communal stereo and everyone takes turns choosing the songs. It was mid November and there I was with the opportunity to choose the music that everyone would be listening to. I look around nervously as I typed “Christmas music” into Grooveshark’s search field. As the Christmas music started to play everyone got really quiet. I got really sweaty and felt red-faced. And for some reason when I feel like my face is red I also feel like it gets really huge and that never helps the redness go away… After a few minutes somebody silently changed the music and my coworker’s demeanor’s resumed their previous amiability.

    Why do we have to be the ones who bow down to them? Are we the freaks? We may never know. But this much I can say. That I really want to go to Chuck-A-Rama for lunch tomorrow.

  5. SarahG says:

    Here I am, the anti pre-Thanksgiving Christmas celebrator mizer. James, all of your points make perfect sense, they do. I especially like the one about being thankful and incorporating Christ into that, BUT……..

    I like Thanksgiving as a buffer between spooky and peaceful, between zombies and elves (wait.. what?). Besides being thankful for everything, Thanksgiving is also a time for me to reflect on what America was founded on. A refuge for those who excaped tierny and a place for the restoration of the Gospel. Ok Ok I don’t want to get too sappy.. But really I like to give Thanksgiving it’s respect, and also I like to enjoy fall and Christmas is pine trees not golden leaves..

    I mean don’t get me wrong, as soon as Black Friday rolls around I could not pop Muppets Christmas Carol in any faster, but I think that also makes me appreciate Christmas more. The build up of counting down to Black Friday aka the beginning of Christmas celebrations makes me THAT more excited.

    I don’t hate anyone who prematurely celebrates, I think it just makes me mad because I’m building up all this excitement, trying to be patient and when everyone else isn’t being patient with me, I get sad.. Misery loves company???

    Anyway, again I think Thanksgiving deserves it’s respect and to enjoy the buffer between apparently zombies and elves, candy and candy, spirits of the dead and spirits of the past, present and future… That’s all.

    I like this post. I do. I also like you too.

  6. ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ on Halloween night, and Andy Williams’ ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ at 12:01am on November 1st. I thought everyone celebrates that way; even Muslims.

    Need I say FOR?

  7. Your outlook on the world is so uplifting and fun. Even in your, as you say, “saucy” mood (love it), you capture the true meaning and spirit of Christmas. I enjoyed this post very much!

    For me, the most excited I ever got before Christmas was when I was super-pregnant with my son, my first child. I remember gazing out the windows of our house, the lights inside off, the lights outside on and watching the snow fall down, quiet, on the street. I knew that very soon a whole new set of eyes would be waiting and watching just like me, and it filled me with a feeling of “wholeness” I wish I could conjure up whenever I feel stressed.

    It does bother me when I see Christmas stuff out before Thanksgiving. Probably because I do feel a lot of pressure from the commercial side of the holiday. But now that you’ve written this post, you’ve made me re-think why I am so bothered. If I keep my mind on my faith, the rest will fall into place. Whenever and wherever that may be.

    Funny and bright post. Thanks!

    • I really appreciate this comment. It really inspires me to keep writing. Thank you.

      My daughter is 6-months-old and I — The Christmas Nut — am even more excited than ever for Christmas morning to roll around. I assume next year will even be more exciting when she understands things better.

      I already took her to bask in the glory of commercial Christmas at department stores as well as some beautiful lights and a nativity at a local church. Knowing all the wonder of this season will be new to her really excites me.

  8. mj monaghan says:

    I’m more in the after Thanksgiving camp, but don’t have a problem with those who are pre-Thanksgiving. Everyone sees it a little differently, and that’s okay. I do get some wifely pressure when the neighbors start putting up their displays before Thanksgiving, but I don’t let it push me into getting ours up too early.

    Enjoy the season and the spirit of Christmas!

  9. Cameron Wilbur says:

    Truly hilarious James, love this post. I usually don’t celebrate Christmas until after Thanksgiving but I’m more of a lover than a hater therefore don’t despise those who celebrate “prematurely”. My wife thrashes when Christmas music comes before Thanksgiving and I chuckle. I think most people would do well to relax and do what fits THEM best regarding all this.

  10. to me christmas is about having fun and being with the people you love. if that means that i belt out ‘rudolph the red nosed reindeer’ at the top of my lungs in the car with my best friend, that i’m going to do that.
    make your own happiness however you see fit.

    and thanks for mentioning my christmas playlist – it made my day!
    merry christmas!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: