Save Christmas for Christmas

Well, it’s that time of year again. No, I'm not talking about Halloween — I'm talking about something much scarier. It's the beginning of that annual two-month period during which everyone complains about having the Christmas spirit shoved down their throats.

It might as well be its own holiday tradition at this point. Nothing screams “it’s fall” like walking into a department store and cynically scoffing at fully-stocked shelves of Christmas lights and ornaments. 

You may hate me for saying this, but while Halloween and Thanksgiving are fine (I guess), the superiority of the Christmas holiday is pretty self-evident.

The truth is, Christmas is simply unlike any other time of year. What other holiday generates its own all-encompassing season?   

Thanksgiving certainly does not. In many ways, it's simply the doormat to the Christmas season. It's a nice appetizer; great at setting the mood for the festivities to follow, but just not the same as the real thing. 

And Halloween owns the month of October — I won't deny that — but does putting up some decorations and watching a few scary movies really compare to everything that comes with Christmas? 

Of course not. For me at least, the Christmas season uniquely affects nearly every aspect of daily life. Our homes, public spaces, and entertainment all become intertwined with a single aesthetic and an atmosphere of pure positivity.

Halloween, at least as we celebrate it today, is little more than a month of sugary, superficial kitsch. Christmas celebrations, however, resonate in a much more substantive and spiritual way. 

As if there are not more pressing matters to argue about, it seems every year incites a bevy of petty squabbles about whether or not we should start celebrating Christmas months in advance.

Of course, many of us are familiar with the classic temptation of enjoying Christmas music and movies before it's even Thanksgiving. Another frequent point of contention for me is deciding when I should put up the Christmas tree.

Arguments against early Christmas celebrations are usually pushed by fans of Halloween and Thanksgiving who resent their favorite holidays being overshadowed each year. According to them, we should stop and savor the fall holidays before rushing into Christmas. 

While there is something comforting about debating issues with refreshingly low stakes, I'm afraid I have to end this debacle once and for all:

We should save Christmas for the month of December.

Not because Halloween and Thanksgiving deserve more attention, but because overextending the Christmas season cheapens the — I resent the term — “magical experience" that comes along with it. 

Many of us have unique anticipation and excitement associated with the holiday, undoubtedly rooted in childhood experiences like receiving gifts and getting time off of school. Even as a college student, I can’t help but get a childish buzz of exhilaration when I see the world around me transition into Christmas mode.   

But as with anything, overexposure is a recipe for apathy. When we begin to exploit our Christmas celebrations beyond the traditional timeframe, we risk devaluing the very experiences that make the season so beloved in the first place.

Also, no one wants to go walking in a "Winter Wonderland" for three months straight. Christmas is great, but it can be intense. When you start gearing up for Christmas before Thanksgiving even begins, everyone's either too exhausted or too desensitized to fully appreciate it when the holiday actually comes. 

Part of what makes Christmas so special is that, for a short period of time, it allows us to suspend the status quo. When it becomes a part of the status quo, that defeats the whole point.

After such a difficult year, we deserve to enjoy the Christmas season properly. In the meantime, I guess we can give the people what they want and celebrate the rest of the fall holidays.

Evan Leonhard is a 19-year-old English and philosophy major from New Orleans.

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