Rant of the Week: Bah, Humbug

Miriam Atkinson on why she won’t be hanging up her stocking for Santa... in November

16th November 2015

Alright I’ll admit I’m a big fan of Christmas. Who isn’t? But when is it acceptable to show our support for the festive season?

  Come December we’re all either joyfully counting down the days until we can open our presents or I supposed dreading the obligatory day of family reunions. By November I’m now being told how many sleeps we have until Christmas and the thought of Christmas shopping has appeared on the horizon. However if you are a shopping centre or a retail store it appears that the end of October (at the latest mind you) is the optimum time to install those glitzy decorations and dust off the deluxe edition CD of all 10 Christmas songs ever made. Guys we haven’t even had Halloween! Yet the ‘I-promise-it’s-Christmas’ award must go to the seasonal greetings cards, which first start making an appearance in September. Seriously who are you people that buy Christmas cards so far in advance?! Don’t you know we have autumn in between the summer and winter holidays?

“It appears that the end of October is the optimum time to install those glitzy decorations and dust off the CD of all 10 Christmas songs ever made”

But why do shops insist on putting up their decorations so far advance? I’ll tell you why. As a consumer society we spend more money around Christmas and New Year than at any other time of the year. This is excellent news for shops but the lure of money and increased profits can lead the best of us into temptation. So some sneaky individual thought: “if we can extend Christmas then we can double the amount we make.” By fitting the decorations a couple of months early the retailers cause our brains to say: “oh it’s Christmas! I must start my Christmas shopping!” And from there our downward spending spiral begins.

  For me one of the best parts of Christmas is the anticipation – as the bubble of excitement grows inside you as each day brings you closer and closer. However if the shops are forcing our hard-wired brains to celebrate Christmas almost the moment summer ends, does this lessen our pleasure when the day itself actually arrives? With festivity quite literally hanging over our heads and assaulting us from all sides for so long, does our enjoyment become jaded to the point where we are bored by Christmas and do not particularly care when it is over?

“For me one of the best parts of Christmas is the anticipation- the bubble of excitement that grows inside you”

  Commercialising Christmas could be having another unwanted effect. As we get older many of us forgot the things we were taught yet are the younger generations of Britain in danger of knowing Christmas as a capitalist market and nothing else? Surely it should be time about family and love as opposed to tantrums about not getting the latest iPhone.

  Regardless of what you love about Christmas – the food, the music, the wine, the coming together of the family, being able to wear your winter woollies, the snow, the sledging, the ice skating, and let’s be honest coming downstairs and seeing all your presents – the fact remains the big day falls into December so can we please wait until then to feel that Christmassy vibe?

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