North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

November 14, 2012

Danielle Pelkey: Has Christmas swallowed Thanksgiving?

By Danielle Pelkey
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — Do you think it is too early? Since the Halloween masks are put away in the closet and the temperatures are finally dropping, is it really too early for Christmas talk?

One of the local radio stations has begun its continuous Christmas music and this will either make you giddy like a 2-year-old or angry like an old man.

When Jingle Bells begins to play in the car, people start to go crazy. I have a friend who has already decorated every corner of her house in festive holiday attire. It looks as if the North Pole landed right in her living room, and it all started with the Christmas music.

I understand the complaints and arguments for both sides.

On one hand, if we go ahead and embrace the excitement of Christmas this early, then we completely miss out on the Thanksgiving holidays all together. We’ve begun to make Halloween a more celebrated holiday than Thanksgiving in our country. As soon as the jack-o-lanterns are crushed, the Christmas trees come out. It takes away from fall altogether. It skips a very important celebration in anticipation of the next big thing. The rule of thumb is to put up your Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and take it down on New Year’s Day. Why can’t people just follow the rules?

On the other hand, is there anything wrong with a little excitement for the Christmas season? It takes way too long and costs far too much to only let these Christmas decorations stay up from Thanksgiving to Christmas. They could get a whole other month of use if we put them out at the first of November. Plus, who doesn’t like Christmas? The carols, the fires, the presents, the family time, the parties... what’s not to love.

So we sit back and watch the agonizing battle between the strict rule followers who refuse to be moved from their day after Thanksgiving traditions and the overzealous, Christmas-loving elves who would love nothing more than to hang their stockings from the chimney with care.

I have lived on both sides of this scenario and they both have their positives and negatives. The year I put my decorations up before Thanksgiving, I was actually pretty tired of Santa and Rudolph by the time Christmas rolled around. But I always feel like I’m missing out on all of the fun when I wait until after Thanksgiving to toss up the garland. It doesn’t matter when I decorate, my tree almost always comes down on Christmas Day. It’s outdated and stale by the next day, so to keep up with the Jones’ I have to remove any evidence of Christmas by the time I go shopping the next morning.

Whether you declare the Christmas holiday to begin this week or in a month, just remember the reasons for these holidays. Think about the importance of being thankful for Thanksgiving and don’t be too much of a Scrooge if your neighbors already have their Christmas lights on the outside of their house.

It could be worse; they could have a blow-up Easter Bunny on the front porch.