Shopping detracts from the holiday spirit

Photo by Brenda Lin

I wake up from my night out of Halloween a disheveled mess. Half of my zombie make-up smeared across my face, still comfortably wearing my Mario outfit, the sunlight is beaming as I check the clock reading a quarter till noon. I try to gather my life together when suddenly, I realize it’s the worst day of the year. It is November 1st. The day radio stations and stores across the nation decide it’s okay to start celebrating Christmas. I turn the radio on and my worst fears are met. The harrowing, familiar jingle with Mariah Carey’s voice soon fills the room, singing about all she wants for Christmas.

Why has Christmas encroached on other holidays? And doesn’t anyone get irrationally angry at store managers for setting up Christmas lights and Christmas trees with no acknowledgment of Thanksgiving? Maybe it was because I was young, but I never recall the out-and-out focus on Christmas to the degree that has happened in the past few years.

Recently, it feels like businesses use the two-month gap to encourage shoppers to find the perfect gift for the holiday seasons, yet in all of this folly, Thanksgiving always gets overlooked. There may be a Thursday in November where we chow down on food and expand by two pants sizes, but ultimately, it is just a blip in preparation for Christmas.

Suddenly, it feels like it has become of the utmost importance to not only have a gift for each of your closest friends and family members, but something that you haven’t done in years past; something not as simple as a Starbucks giftcard.

The gift needs to be thoughtful, to show you know something about the person for whom you bought the gift. The gift should be creative, and be something that not everyone could have come up with.

Now all of this leads to exciting and thoughtful gifts, but I feel like the spirit of the holidays looses some of its meaning. Part of the reason I loved the holidays when I was young wasn’t because I got the latest and greatest toy or ticket to a show I’d been dying to see; it wasn’t because my home was decorated in full on holiday colors.

It was when I got to spend time with my family. There was lots of baking, and holiday songs, and story telling. And while all of that still happens, there is that heightened stress and anxiety I have to deal with each year, which ultimately retracts from my experience.

Because while yes, I may love hearing Mariah Carey every year singing about what she wants for Christmas, in the back of my mind, I’m still worrying I haven’t been thoughtful enough. I’m worried my presents are too boring or too predictable.

Ultimately, my theory points to the fact that in the not so distant future, people will already start thinking about Christmas season as early as Labor Day. And with each year and as the encroachment of Christmas continues, my holiday spirit crashes.