An Excerpt on the Length of Christmas

It’s 2022, Christmas is over and the New Year’s sales have long since flooded in. America’s insatiable capitalism had its hold on the 2021 holiday season, but it may (finally!) be over. Over time, most Americans have come to see that the holiday season has severely outgrown the borders of December.

The originally expressed aspects of Christmas are the gathering of loved ones to give gifts and make each other happy. But throughout the years, it has become clear that the holiday spark of love and kindness has petered out and a new corporate ember has caught fire; the personality of Christmas has been replaced with material desires. This dragging through the mud tarnishes the meaning of the holiday for many, including senior Kaeleigh Carberry.

“It starts at 12:00 AM the day after Thanksgiving. In the wise words of my sister, ‘Thanksgiving is a day; Christmas is a season.’ I personally feel that Christmas should be celebrated at an appropriate time, which is after Thanksgiving.’ said Carberry. “It’s more special when it’s celebrated at this designated time; the earlier it’s celebrated, the less special it gets. I’ve found that as the years go on, and the Christmas season is celebrated earlier and earlier, it’s gotten less special…at least for me.”

This expansion of the holiday is held in the hands of monopolists, as the longer the Christmas season, the greater the profits, as Carberry later says.

“Marketing and other business tactics pushing Christmas haven’t helped either. If anything, it’s making more people lose sight of what Christmas is actually about,” said Carberry.

This capitalist interpretation of the original holiday is not appreciated by the most common perspective, that of the consumer. It is clearly an earnest strategy for economic gains, with companies that subsist solely off of Christmastime profits and others deriving their names from the time, such as The Christmas Tree Shop. The massive appreciation in profits from almost every store during the holiday season makes it clear that an increase in its length would be beneficial to almost any company.

“Marketing and other business tactics pushing Christmas haven’t helped either. If anything, it’s making more people lose sight of what Christmas is actually about.”

—senior, Kaeleigh Carberry

Another SWR senior, Vincent Worthington, says, “Christmas stuff is only bought during Christmas, so companies have to sell all of their stock or they will have to wait till next holiday season to make a profit off of it. So they put it all on display early to extend the time people see it.” He adds, “I find it pretty annoying but I understand why companies do it.”

But the business side of the holiday season is not all that’s bringing it down and drawing it out. The general idealized actions of the season, such as gift giving, decorating, and the spreading of Christmas joy can weigh on some people. This diminishes the potential of the holiday if it were less mandatory and pushed. A shorter Christmas season that emphasizes individual choice and love could result in great benefits.

“The holiday season is both alarmingly quick and in some ways, very drawn out,” said teacher Michael Buscemi. “With the stresses of the holidays, sometimes the season seems to slip away as we balance work, school, and life in general. Sometimes, however, our consumer-driven culture ramps up the holidays a bit too early and adds an artificial level of stress to an already stressful time. I think it’s important not to let the stresses of the holiday season interfere with what’s really important, like time spent with family and friends.”

Even with pressure from companies and the strict traditions surrounding the holidays, it seems not everyone is unhappy with the way things are going. SWR junior Jessica Platz is still endowed by the spirit of the holidays, and holds the joyous spark that the season is known for.

“I think that the length of the holiday season might be a bit long, but overall that it’s a good thing to have a season to celebrate,” said Platz. “The holiday season helps spread joy and bring families and friends closer together. I think the decorations and everyone having something in common, the holiday spirit, helps bring people together and make them happier.”