Dear Reader, every year, around this time, this article gets a lot of traffic. I wrote it way back in 2012 when societal norms were different and life was a lot less tumultuous. In 2020, all bets are off and it’s impossible for the Christmas season to be too early this year. If you want to put your tree up this second and turn your Christmas lights on, don’t bother reading any further. DO IT. Wishing you a Merry Christmas for however long you plan to celebrate it this year. Love, Candace
Last night, I was driving down a street in our neighbourhood, and in amongst the skeletons, goblins, pumpkins and gravestones, was a house with its outdoor Christmas trees up, all lit up!
Now, I am a big Christmas fan, huge you might even say, but having the lights up before Halloween is just wrong in my humble opinion. In fact, it’s a little obnoxious and so no wonder so many people are currently turned off with the whole Christmas season.
So, what is the right time? Here’s the Pleasantville guide to Christmas, so you don’t drive people crazy with your holiday enthusiasm.
Okay, I get it. Christmas is a big money maker for those in business and in a competitive world, you want to get the jump on the guy schlepping the same stuff. BUT, there is no earthly reason for anybody to be buying Christmas stuff in July. Yes, Costco, I am giving you the stink eye.
As a Canadian, with a very short summer, I really hate when stores make me think of cold weather and snow, while I’m still enjoying my flip flops and shorts. So, maybe you could wait until October 1st? Ideally, I’d say November 1st, so you wait until after Halloween, but I’m fair. Can we get this in writing for next year,then?
As far as decor, the malls and stores should definitely wait until mid-November before pulling out the lights and garland.
I grew up with the understanding that you didn’t pull out a single decorative bauble or turn on the Christmas music until after Remembrance Day out of respect for those that fought for our country. It was something instilled in me by parents and grandparents. On November 12th, however, I pull out the Christmas countdown calendar, and one or two or *ahem* three, decorations come out a day until December 1st. I know some people who wait until December 1st and still others who don’t put their tree up until Christmas Eve. It’s all good from where I’m sitting. You’re inside your home for heaven’s sake. The outside however, is a different story. On the outside you’re sharing with the world. By all means put your lights up before the weather gets too cold, but don’t turn them on until December.
This really depends what camp you’re in. Real or artificial. This year I’ll have one of both for the first time. So, my plan is to put the artificial tree up December 1st. I always put our real one up the second weekend of December, this year it’ll be December 9th. Purists wait until Christmas Eve. To me this seems like a lot of effort for such a short time, but to each his own.
I used to be so diligent sending out Christmas cards, but then I started to resent them. They cost a fortune, they sucked up time I didn’t want to give and they just got tossed aside, so it felt wasteful. I no longer do them. I have way more fun Elfing myself and my family. The one thing about Christmas is you shouldn’t do anything you don’t enjoy. You’re missing the spirit of the season if it’s not bringing you and the ones you love great joy. So if cards are your thing, then mail them December 1st to allow for plenty of time. If you’re ready to give up the cards, check out ElfYourself.
Elf on the Shelf
The Elf on the Shelf has become wildly popular over the last couple of years. The premise is that your Elf moves in for the Christmas season and then reports back to Santa whether the behaviour is naughty or nice in your house. Every night he goes back to the North Pole while the children sleep and shows up in a new spot the next morning.
You can find tons of creative ideas for you elf on Pinterest. It is loads of fun but a little bit of a pain in the ass as well. I mean, pull the elf out too early and he loses his magical ability to illicit good behaviour with a “Oh, Oh, wonder what the elf will say tonight?” comment. Also, you start to forget to move him each night and then you resent the little guy. So I recommend you bring the elf out December 12th.
Okay, in the privacy of your own home, turn it on whenever you want frankly. I wait until after Remembrance Day (see above) but if it’s going to make you happy, turn it on. That being said, stores should definitely avoid playing it until mid-November and the radio stations shouldn’t air a single one until the first of December.
Please wait until December to schedule your parties, but GIVE NOTICE in November. People book up fast in December so make sure you invite early or you may end up with nobody there.
Putting it Away
Admittedly, I start early—I’ve been known to tear it all down on Boxing Day. Typically though, I’m Christmas free by New Year’s Day. My parents, however, wait until the day after Old Christmas. The bottom line though is you shouldn’t be looking at it by Easter. 🙂