IVES: Christmas music should be played after Black Friday

Some+people+are+beginning+to+decorate+the+city+with+lights.+Marquette+Wire+stock+photo

Some people are beginning to decorate the city with lights. Marquette Wire stock photo

Ah, 2020, a year that has felt endlessly long, finally coming to a close. As we make our way through November, we see a pleasant drop in temperature, finally allowing us to put our hefty sweaters and fuzzy socks to use. We can smell autumn’s sweet aroma, unique to the season and impossible to replicate, even by Yankee Candles. And, of course, we begin to hear Michael Buble’s melodious renditions of Christmas classics drift through the air, serenading us as we go about our lives.

This, I cannot accept.

I love autumn. Nothing in the world is quite like watching the leaves on the trees change color, or feeling in your gut that inexplicable feeling of excitement associated with change.

I love Christmas just as much. The very thought of it brings back happy memories of tireless attempts at catching Santa Claus red-handed and stuffing my face with puppy chow, a seasonal treat in my household consisting of Chex cereal coated in melted chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar.

It is because I love the fall and Christmas seasons so much, and because I hold them in equally high esteem, that I firmly believe they ought to be kept separate. Otherwise neither can be properly enjoyed.

When the overeager champions of premature Christmas music make their entrance Nov. 1, they bring about autumn’s untimely end.

Why? Because the Christmas spirit is contagious. 

Make the mistake of listening to one Christmas song a little too early in the year, and the winter holiday will be all you can think about until Dec. 25 passes.

How can you savor autumn and all it has to offer when your mind has already gone into Christmas mode? How can you appreciate the beautiful, rich colors of the changing leaves when all you can see are flashing red and green lights? 

And what about Thanksgiving? On the fourth Thursday of November, you may have a plate filled with creamy mashed potatoes, turkey doused in savory gravy and a slice of homemade cherry pie waiting for you for dessert. But if you have already come in contact with the Christmas spirit, all you will crave are candy canes, gingerbread cookies and Yorkshire pudding. While this possibility may have little impact on those who already celebrate Thanksgiving as part of the Christmas season, it risks spoiling Thanksgiving festivities for those who enjoy the two holidays separately.

This is why premature Christmas celebrations are irresponsible: they endanger our ability to appreciate autumn to the fullest extent. All the things that make fall a wonderful season — football, pumpkin flavored everything, Goldilocks weather — become overshadowed by anticipation for Christmas day.

I make this argument not with the sole purpose of defending autumn’s sovereignty, but with the intent of protecting the Christmas spirit as well.

Contrary to popular opinion, starting your celebrations earlier does not help you build up excitement. Instead, it actually makes you lose enthusiasm along the way. Listening to the same music and looking at the same decorations gets boring after a while.

Have you ever ordered a package on Amazon that came late, and the longer you waited for it, the more excited you got for it to arrive? Well, Christmas is not like an Amazon package.

So, if you start celebrating too early, you not only lose the opportunity to properly enjoy autumn, but you also risk sacrificing some of your Christmas spirit along the way. And Christmas spirit is half of what makes the holiday so fun.

For these reasons, the earliest a person should start listening to Christmas music is Black Friday, the day many of us begin our Christmas gift shopping and the day the Christmas season truly begins.

However, this has been a tough year for all of us. So, just this once, I think people should listen to Christmas music as early as they want. And while they are at it, they should splurge on that one thing they have been wanting for ages and then give it to themselves as an early Christmas present. Who cares? If it makes you happy, wear a Santa Claus costume to Thanksgiving dinner. Do what you have to do.

This story was written by Charlotte Ives. She can be reached at charlotte.ives@marquette.edu.