When’s the Season to be Jolly?

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Editorial Board, Volume 50

Ho-ho-hold off

We all enjoy celebrating. We celebrate holidays, birthdays, graduations— even St. Patrick’s Day. For many of those celebrations, we start looking forward and preparing in advance. In many ways, we enjoy the journey as much as the destination. But how early is too early to celebrate?

There’s a dark side to celebrating too soon, and the buildup to the winter holidays is perhaps the most intense. Almost as soon as November begins, we turn on the Christmas music, Starbucks starts selling their winter- themed lattes, and some particularly adamant winter holiday lovers begin putting up snowflake cut-outs and Christmas lights. Before it even snows, it seems everyone is anticipating the holly-jolliness of a winter wonderland.

Yet, this celebration feels bizarre and glutinous. It doesn’t seem right to start celebrating a winter holiday months in advance, let alone buy all the related paraphernalia that early. November is not a winter month, nor does it have anything to do with reindeer, fat men in red suits, or Wham! songs. If you need to celebrate a beloved holiday, then celebrate Thanksgiving (or beloved Editorials Editor Augustus Hawk’s birthday), which fits the bill for loads of holiday spirit.

We need to recognize holidays like Thanksgiving before we start thinking about Christmas or even New Year’s, and not forget about the pie, turkey, or time with loved ones we cherish. All too often, we skip right from Halloween to Christmas—Thanksgiving deserves more airtime.

And by giving it that time, winter holidays can be even more exciting when we’re ready for them. Rarely do any humans sustain the enthusiasm and longevity required to stay psyched about Christmas for two months. If we start celebrating in November, we risk diluting the magic and important memories that Christmas day brings. For all the decorations, caroling, and trees, the day itself is usually spent eating, talking, and opening a few presents—wonderful but anticlimactic if you spend months preparing.

Perhaps, though, it’s not all the early-celebrators’ fault. The stream of consumerism and preemptive holiday-themed media puts pressure on buyers to purchase goods earlier, causing individuals to start thinking about winter and spend even more money before December arrives. Black Friday, a time when most stores heavy discount their products, forces consumers to rush their winter-purchasing in hopes of a good deal. Some can afford these impulses year after year, like Russian Oligarchs or Jeff Bezos, but most can’t.

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating these holidays. It’s tremendous fun to join the festivities and spend time with family and friends. But this must all be done in moderation; too much hot chocolate or Christmas rom- coms may ruin the celebration entirely.

As of December 1, we, too, donned Santa hats, caroled, and sipped peppermint drinks. We enjoyed them more simply because we waited later to enjoy them and didn’t spoil our holidays with too much of anything. In the end, that’s the only difference between a good Christmas and a great one.

—Augustus Hawk, Mary Randolph, Dylan Higgins, Eli Waisburd, David Min (all ’22), Emmy Lev, Madera Longstreet-Lipson, Fatmata Sesay (all ’23)

 

Fa-la-la-let’s start celebrating

White frost clings to the grass and brown, decomposing leaves. We breathe out steamy fog in billows that rise through the crisp air into the bare trees as the sun sleeps at 4:30 p.m. Bitter cold and darkness are upon us. November feels like winter, but a void waits to be filled by winter spirit.

Winter spirit fosters family, friendship, and coziness, so why hold off on celebrating these joyous traditions? On November 4, Starbucks released its winter menu with peppermint-flavored drinks, adorable snowman cookies, and festive, red-and-green cups. When you walk into a Starbucks, you walk into a world of winter spirit.

Starbucks is not alone in celebrating the holidays early: Dunkin’ does the same. These businesses have one aim—to make money—which means appealing to customers. As a part of many people’s everyday lives, Starbucks and Dunkin’ know what that the people don’t want and show we should not suppress the joy of winter. Who are we to argue with Dunkin’ Donuts, the fuel of Boston? Earlier holiday celebrations are companies following the sentiment of the people, not the companies forcing their own spirit on us.

Beginning celebrations earlier is also economically beneficial. In Los Angeles, thousands of crates stuffed with holiday gifts are awaiting delivery due to America’s elf (though some may call them truck drivers) shortage.

Most small stores are facing a significant backlog, meaning many popular items made overseas are limited. Getting in the holiday spirit earlier will start gift buying sooner, allowing stores, particularly local shops, time to restock limited supplies in time for the holidays. This allows for more gifts sold, more gift options, and more gift-giving joy.

In November, the shorter days can also negatively impact our mental health, since for many of us, it is dark when we leave for school and dark when we return. As we approach the shortest day of the year and exam week, many students’ spirits are low. Without the holiday spirit, the cold only brings dying plants; barren tree branches; and long, stinging nights. Winter spirit cheer can raise our spirits. Let the warmth and light return.

Rich, creamy hot cocoa with dollops of fresh whipped cream has a place on the kitchen counter in November. The fire should crackle on the cold nights, and “Winter Wonderland” should play softly in the background.

Winter, particularly during the isolated nature of the pandemic, can be desolate, and that is why we need each other to bring on the jolly times earlier. Joy does not need a reservation to enter our lives.

—Maya Benjamin, Sofia Chen, Saffron Patel (all ’22), Rahdin Salehian, Ford Legg, Anjali Reddy, and Danielle Brennan (all ’23)