We all know that Christmas is starting earlier and earlier – who didn’t exclaim with surprise when they saw the first chocolate Santa on the shelf? Who didn’t roll their eyes when the first mince pie was spotted (and possibly photographed for Instagram) but, well, someone must be buying mince pies in Mid-October so maybe that’s when it starts now?
Or does that take away a bit of the magic? Should Christmas start the week before the 25th December, condensing the magic to a few days of manic purchasing, wrapping and baking before the family descends bearing gifts and kisses?
It’s dark, it’s cold, let’s have a party
There seems to be a lot of possible reasons why Christmas is on the 25th December, and none of them seem to have a relation to the birth of Jesus, the date of which isn’t mentioned in the bible. One of the reasons suggested is the proximity to the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, which in northern Europe is pretty darn short. Our pagan foremothers and fathers celebrated the end of winter and the coming of spring by worshipping the sun at the end of December – at the darkest time of the year, they needed something to look forward to, the coming of the light, so, well, had a bit of a party, seem familiar? Could Christmas be a lot about cheering us up when we need it the most? Getting us through the hard times? Christmas starting at the beginning of November just makes the party last a bit longer.
There is a date in January called Blue Monday, it’s the most depressing day of the year (calculated by a holiday provider so not exactly pronounced by one of the 3 wise men). Some factors used to calculate this mythical date…weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay – Christmas, dare we blame you?), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions and low motivational levels (no presents to buy?). When time since Christmas is used to calculate our sadness, it’s a fair bet it has a lot to do with our happiness.
It’s all about marketing
Is it all just a ploy to get us to buy more ‘stuff’? Well, yes, a bit. The company that gets Christmas gift ideas in your head first might be the one to get you to the check-out first. We don’t have to buy it though, the mince pies are only in the shops because people are buying them, so maybe it’s the people who like to shop early and are all smug about having their gifts wrapped in August that we should blame for Christmas coming early (it’s jealousy you can sense in my tone there). Christmas trees and tunes in a shop put us in the shopping spirit, a time of year that we’re being coaxed into thinking is for spending money, saving up and being extravagant.
Christmas marketing is generally designed to bring us joy, which is completely what the John Lewis and Marks and Spencers adverts do, they bring us happiness which hopefully translates into us going instore or online and happily buying ‘stuff’. Who can complain about happiness?
Here is where I think the problem with the early arrival of Christmas lies, here is the reason that people get grumpy over Christmas – it’s the music. I love Christmas tunes, of course I do, I’m only human, but hearing only Christmas tunes, and overall, the same Christmas tunes every year since the early 80’s, can wear even the greatest lover of Christmas down until they’re sobbing into their scratchy tinsel adorned jumpers.
Although we want to be happy, there is only a certain amount of cheeriness any person can cope with unless they’re an actual Elf (Elf, now that is a movie to make you happy). We want to hear Christmas tunes, we just don’t want to only hear Christmas tunes – that’s all!
So – to conclude
Christmas is brilliant! It means we see our families and our neighbours, it means we eat great food, it cheers us up in the dark months. We decorate our streets with lights and we flock to drink mulled wine at our friend’s parties. Children are excited and adults pretend not to be but are secretly dying to get the Christmas booze in. Love or hate the in-store Christmas trees, they are pretty and sometimes we all need a bit of sparkle in our lives. Just please, please hold off the tunes until December.