Walking around Eldon Square’s shops today is enough to make you begin to question what month we are actually in. Twinkling lights, seasonal decorations, aisles of gift ideas…surely it must be December?
On checking my calendar, however, I can confirm for you that it is, in fact, still October...
October is a month when we’re still revelling in the last excitement of our summer adventures. There’s a growing chill in the air, but definitely no ice or snow yet outside, and when people are making the important decision of their Halloween outfit.
So, why is it that you can find adverts and decorations everywhere you turn, attempting to encourage your participation in this crazy, early preparation for what is really just one small day in our calendar year? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete Grinch. I love a bit of Christmas cheer and excitement just as much as the next person, particularly the excuse it provides for eating and drinking a little too much… But why is it necessary to begin the holiday madness in October?
Even for those of us who are incredibly indecisive (this includes myself), three months of advance preparation is not required to find some presents for the friends and family. Although it is still an important element for some, for many others the Christmas period has already lost its original religious meaning. Yet, it does usually still carry some important messages, the main one of which is of course creating time to spend with loved ones. A time of cheer and celebration, spent hugging hot drinks and hiding under blankets for warmth. A period for playing board games with family, singing cheesy over-played songs, and decorating the long-deliberated perfect tree. But how are we to even enjoy these elements of Christmas when it is becoming increasingly more cynical?
Shops don’t create their adverts for the perfect gift in October because they’re worried you might be a bit unorganised, or because they want to help share Christmas cheer.
We know their only goal is to increase their sales and to encourage us to spend even more money than last year, on presents that people probably don’t actually want.
Further to this, who can really enjoy a celebration that has become so commercialised and controlled? Not only does it drain away any real joy for the day but it also adds unnecessary pressure, indoctrinating the idea that buying presents is essential for showing love to friends and family. A lot of us can’t afford to participate in this construct, particularly as students or as parents with large families, and the constant adverts can begin to make guilt seep into those of us who have had to settle for a cheaper gift. I think it can safely be said that this is definitely not the point of Christmas.
I for one would really like to enjoy the pleasure of autumn, Halloween, and Bonfire night before even thinking about Christmas. So let’s all put the baubles away, take the heat off the mulled wine and for the love of God don’t let Mariah Carey out of her cage just yet. One more month- that’s all I’m asking for.