On Nov. 1, children everywhere awaken with the excitement of digging into their Halloween candy from the night before. Students awaken with hangovers and trails of their costume makeup on their pillows. Halloween is over, but the memories of dressing up and listening to “Monster Mash” are still fresh. Photos of Halloween parties are to be posted on Facebook, and discounted Halloween candy waits to be bought. But as people walk into stores to claim their brightly coloured, spooky goodies, they notice that something isn’t right. They stop and listen. Is that . . . could it be . . . Christmas music?
Yes. As a matter of fact, it is.
The instant that the calendars flip to November, store owners across the country decide that the Christmas season is officially in full force. At Starbucks, special fall drinks such as pumpkin spice lattés and salted caramel mochas are officially out, and Christmas drinks are in. Normal travel cups are abandoned, and Christmas ones take over.
On Nov. 2, Global News Calgary published an article about how Shoppers Drug Mart had begun playing Christmas music on Nov. 1 — but after enough people complained, the store quit playing it for the time being.
Television commercials are making suggestions for Christmas gifts all over the place; if you care about your loved ones enough, you’ll get them this thing for Christmas! Show them how much you really care! There is no way you can acknowledge fall’s and Halloween’s lingering existence anymore: it’s Christmas now, damn it.
I’ll admit I have already begun Christmas shopping; when the true season arrives, I won’t be in a panic to buy the gifts I need. However, I like to think that I have a sense of what the people in my life will want for Christmas, and I don’t need commercials to make up my mind for me. But for retailers, it’s all about the gifts. Forget celebrating the season with those who are important to you. With all of the commercialism happening so early, it feels as though society is forgetting the moral from How the Grinch Stole Christmas: it’s not just about the presents. Hardly at all, in fact.
I love Christmas. I love the music and the lights and the warm cinnamon and pine tree smells and the baking. But I also love the fall, when I don’t have to be fixated on a major holiday. For me, November equates to the solemnity of Remembrance Day, the transition from autumn into winter and the sipping of hot chocolate while sitting next to a warm fire. Unfortunately, it also means that I still have a month-and-a-half of school left before I can go home and enjoy the holidays. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I focus on Christmas too early, November will feel like an eternity of waiting for that day when I can finally fly home.
So for now, I will continue to roll my eyes at all of the early Christmas festivities; but when December comes, I look forward to fully embracing the holiday. When the semi-permanent pink dye in my hair from my Halloween costume washes out, maybe I will finally accept that the Christmas season has begun.