I don't know what it's like elsewhere but here in Canada, because we have Thanksgiving in October the official start to our Christmas shopping season is November 1st. Halloween comes down and Christmas goes up. The malls get decorated, the music is switched to carols and people (like me) get their Christmas lights put up.
And as all this happens there are inevitably the people who complain about Christmas taking over and taking over so early. We get teased a lot, especially by Sean's family, for having the outside of our house decorated so early (it's usually done by the middle of November to coincide with out cities Santa Claus Parade. It's an evening parade of lights and it runs across the street from our house so we get a lot of foot traffic and we like to add to the festivity by having our house all lit up that night. We also put our tree up and decorate the inside of the house the very first weekend of December, right after we have Mary's birthday party (always after though so that it doesn't over shadow her birthday)
I can't, for the life of me, figure out what the problem is.
Why would one NOT want to spend as much time enjoying the Christmas season? It's not just a day to me, it's a whole lead up. It's exciting. It puts me in a good mood. And sure, part of it is about presents....I LOVE buying presents for people and this gives me an excise to go all out. But it's also the other things the season brings.
When I had my home daycare we used to do a toy drive. I'd ask the parents to either contribute a few extra dollars in their fees or to drop off a new, unwrapped toy. We also asked for Canadian Tire Money donations. My daycare parents were always so supportive of it, donating toys, money and Canadian Tire money. Sean and I would contribute our change jar that we'd collect change in all year and most years that I held the toy drive we'd raise over $100 dollars (not bad when you consider it was only me and 4-5 daycare parents) PLUS toys, PLUS usually $30 or so of Canadian Tire money.
Then we'd pick a day in mid December and Sean and I would take our kids and the daycare kids to WalMart and Canadian Tire and we'd use the money to buy more toys and the we'd pile into the van with all the kids and the toys and bring it down to the fire station.
It was such a great lesson for the kids, so hands on, about giving to those in need and understanding that not everyone is as lucky as we are. Of course there was one year when one of the kids asked me why Santa didn't bring gifts to the poor kids. I had to think quick and explain that he did but that he only brought one or two gifts and that was all because their Mommies and Daddies couldn't afford gifts so we were helping to give the poor children a few more gifts, just like we got. They sure kept me on my toes!
It's that kind of thing that I love about this time of year. That people are more generous and giving and spend more time thinking about those in need. I wish we could think that way all year.
But it brings me back to the question, why get all bent out of shape over the Christmas season being dragged out for longer than the 12 days of Christmas? I really don't know. I think the longer we can keep the spirit of Christmas in people's hearts, the better off the world would be. So if decking the halls (and the malls) is what it takes to make people think about Christmas and the spirit of Christmas (and yes the True Meaning of Christmas...because why should we reserve celebrating the birth of our Lord to just one day?) then I say go for it...do it for as long as possible
Isn't that what Christmas is really about? In the words of Garfield, "It's not the giving, it's not the getting, it's the loving."