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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: How Early is TOO Early for Christmas Spirit?

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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: How Early is TOO Early for Christmas Spirit?

Luca Rivera

Luca Rivera

Luca Rivera

Ben Glickman, Senior and Lucy Edmunds, Sophomore

POINT: CHRISTMAS COMES EARLIER AND EARLIER

by Ben Glickman, Senior

Picture this: you’ve just come out of the store after shopping for Halloween candy. The air is beginning to have a bite to it, and you get into your car and turn on the radio. That’s when you hear it. Jingle Bells rings through your ears like the shrieking sound of a car alarm. The Christmas season has begun.

Traditionally, the start of the holiday season is on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when stores have massive sales. However, major retail chains have continued to push back the start of Christmas shopping promotions further and further into November.

A poll of PMHS students with 212 respondents found that 36.5 percent of those polled believe that the holiday season begins before November 15, with 10 percent saying that it begins before November 1. A whopping 43.9 percent believe the holiday season begins on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) while 14.6 percent believe it begins sometime in December.

The Christmas creep, as the occurrence has come to be known, is the phenomenon of retailers selling Christmas products and introducing seasonal displays prior to the traditional start of the holiday shopping season in order to bump their own profits. Despite the phenomenon’s origins in the Victorian era, recent years have seen a sharp escalation in the frequency of early Christmas advertising and retail.

It makes sense that retail companies would push the Christmas season earlier and earlier. Retail sales in the United States have risen steadily over the past decade. Deloitte, a major accounting firm, predicts that total retail sales will increase 5-5.6 percent, with online sales rising 17-22 percent this year.

Sale spikes in retail are made possible by consumers increasingly lavish spending. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers say they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the 2018 holiday season, up 4.1 percent from last year’s numbers.

For some retailers it can make or break their entire year,” said Herbert Kleinberger, a professor at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at NYU, as quoted in the BBC article from 2016. “I don’t see this changing anytime in the near term.”

One or two months of the year can account for as much as 40 percent of annual profits for a given retail company. Thus, companies are incentivized to stretch out this period of huge profits to increase their bottom lines.

Although companies are in many ways advantageous for consumers, they are far from perfect. In order to maximize efficiency, companies have been known to mistreat workers. For example, in April, reports came out from Amazon factory workers detailing horrendous working conditions and low pay. Even after raising minimum wage for hourly workers to $15, Amazon cut benefits and stock grants, leading some to suggest that workers would end up with less.

Supporting an overly-extended Christmas shopping season is equivalent to supporting companies that grossly mistreat workers. There is nothing wrong with practicing a holiday that promotes joy and happiness. However, supporting a Christmas shopping season that starts nearly two months before the actual holiday supports all the pitfalls of corporate power.


COUNTERPOINT: IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY FOR HOLIDAY CHEER

By Lucy Edmunds, Sophomore

Thomas Monson, the sixteenth president of the Mormon Church, once said, “Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.” In the twenty-first century, it may be tricky not to get lost in the materialistic elements of Christmas. The holiday season gives us an opportunity to think about others.
Christmas comes earlier with every passing year. Wreaths and Christmas lights in November may seem overzealous to some. However, why does it matter what others choose to do when it comes to celebrating the joyous holiday season? Many people seem to have a problem with premature Christmas festivities and some share this opinion. The internet consists of articles, tweets, and Facebook posts complaining about how people are decorating their houses too early for Christmas, and that it is too much to just be excited for the upcoming season in November.
Many argue that Christmas has become materialistic. In 2018, shopping is a large aspect of the holidays, however, the true intention of Christmas still exists, it is just hidden under this material disguise.
During Christmas season, it seems easier to be thankful for your circumstances as well as appreciate everything around you. The season brings out the best in one’s community and family. The beautiful lights, the snow blanketing every surface, and being near loved ones brings out everyone’s sentimental side. These thoughts improve mental health and make one a more joyful person overall. Psychologist Deborah Serani told Today News, “It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness… I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation…signals our senses, and then our senses measure if it’s pleasing or not.” Isolating the Christmas season from the rest of the year is scientifically proven to make us happier.

Around the holidays, some may take part in charity work alongside making donations. Volunteer work is motivational, one always leaves wanting to participate in future activities. More people become thankful for the pleasures of life. Statistics demonstrate that it truly is the Christmas season that pushes people to donate to charities and volunteer, as thirty-four percent of annual charity funds are given during the final three months of the year.
Christmas reminds us of a more carefree time, and overall makes us happier. In an article for NBC News, Dr. Rhonda Freeman, a neurologist, said, “Many of us associate this music with childhood and a happy time of presents and traditions and all the specialness that happens around that time of year. When the brain makes these associations with something very positive ….the rewards system is being activated [which triggers] a number of chemicals including dopamine.” Why is it that people can not put up a blow-up Santa after Columbus Day to share a message of joy and spirit with passersby?

It is a personal choice whether or not you get a head start on Christmas festivities, but it is not right to judge others for doing so. One should not be judged for wanting to enjoy the joy that comes with Christmas.To all the people who complain about Christmas coming too early…..Bah Humbug!

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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: How Early is TOO Early for Christmas Spirit?