When does Christmas officially start?


Leah Van Weelden

Christmas is coming, but the debate on when it is appropriate to start celebrating the holiday is ongoing.

Every year, as summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter, the question is asked and the debate begins: “when is it officially time to start celebrating Christmas?”

For some, it is as soon as the ghosts and goblins are put away for the year. For others, they believe Christmas celebrations should hold off until after Thanksgiving has come and gone. Then there are the few who choose to celebrate before Halloween has even happened.

For me, the Christmas cheer slowly starts to creep up on Nov. 1. But I still cannot quite give in, so I wait and as soon as the Thanksgiving feast is put away, for me, Christmas has officially begun.

The colorful, mesmerizing lights begin lining the streets of each neighborhood as the radio plays the traditional Christmas songs, signifying the oncoming holiday season. This is one of my favorite times of the year, but that is not the case for everyone.

Those especially dedicated to the holiday season will start their decorating before Thanksgiving or even as early as October. Although some say this is too early for the festivities to commence, in a national survey of 2,562 people, 62% of participants said they decorate before Thanksgiving. This survey found that participants were influenced by the Christmas shopping starting early, as Black Friday and Cyber Monday commence immediately after Thanksgiving.

A more scientific reason for premature Christmas decorating, according to psychologist Deborah Serani, is that it can make people feel happier. The bright lights and colors as well as the general cheer increase dopamine, the feel-good chemical in the brain. The nostalgia of the season can also remind people of childhood joy with friends and family, leading to higher levels of happiness.

I would have to agree with the fact that Christmas makes me feel like a kid again. I get so excited to deliver presents to friends, bake cookies with my mom and even track Santa. It was one of my fondest memories as a child; it made the idea of Santa so real, getting to follow his every move up until he visited my own house. The action of tracking Santa on Christmas Eve brought my excitement up to an entirely new level. 

So it begs the question, why not start celebrating Christmas early? For me, it gives a chance to celebrate with friends at college before we leave each other for a month. We give each other gifts, make hot chocolate, and have our own mini Christmas Day together. It gives you a chance to shop and build up your own excitement to receive presents.

Let’s enjoy the fact that people are happier during this time. Decorating for Christmas during Halloween seems absurd, but little bits of Christmas sprinkled into the mix of Thanksgiving is something I can get behind, even if it is only for the joy and happiness of others. The music may get annoying, but we only have to listen to it for one month out of the 12 in a year.

It seems there are many opinions for when exactly the right time to begin Christmas is and all of its traditions. Regardless, the holiday season is finally upon us. Whether you still have pumpkins on your porch or are hanging your stockings by the fireplace, the answer to the question “When does Christmas officially start?” maybe that there is no right time.