November is finally here, and as the UConn student body finishes cleaning up the beer cans and candy wrappers from another successful Husky Halloweekend, the Life Section thought it would be a good idea to look ahead to the upcoming holiday season. The Hallmark Channel began airing its roster of cookie-cutter Christmas movies two weeks ago, and the UConn Bookstore has already set up its Christmas tree displays. So, this begs the question: When does the holiday season officially begin? Our writers share their thoughts:
Esther Ju, SW
Is it really ethical to ask when the holiday season is allowed to begin? As individuals, are we not allowed the pursuit of happiness? What if my happiness relies on listening to Wham’s “Last Christmas” on Halloween afternoon (which I definitely did not do)? Here’s an answer to all you fiends who are so quick to judge Mariah Carey’s early return to retail stores on Nov. 1, inspired by the words of Michael Scott: “Sue me.”
Considering the holidays have been dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year” for however many years that particular song was released, it should be a given that people would want to celebrate the occasion as early as possible. In fact, why should the holiday season be given an official start date at all? I say, let the premature revelers do their premature reveling whenever they’d like, whether that be the second Halloween ends or by paying a real-life homage to Sufjan Stevens’ underrated hit, “Christmas in July.”
And before I get accused of glossing over Thanksgiving, I would just like to add that in my opinion, turkey day is subsumed under the category of holiday season. Perhaps that statement is controversial enough to be included in a separate roundtable, which in that case, I would absolutely be obliged to defend my cause.
On the other hand, listening to my specially curated holiday playlist while writing this has surely provided me with the moral support I needed, along with being an entirely appropriate way of illustrating my point. To answer the question, “When does the holiday season officially start?” I’d ultimately recommend celebrating at any time your little heart desires.
Abigayl Palmer, CC
Halloween marks the official start of the holiday season, and that is a hill I will die on. I know most consider Thanksgiving to be the beginning of the holiday season but this argument completely disregards the numerous culturally and historically rich holidays that kick off the start of November.
Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a holiday observed in several regions of Mexico, begins on Nov. 1. The two-day celebration originates in the Roman Catholic Church and includes All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2), when celebrants honor and commemorate departed saints and loved ones. On All Souls Day, it is said that the dead return each year to eat, drink and celebrate. The holiday was popularized by the 2017 Pixar film, “Coco.”
The Festival of Lights or Diwali is just two days after Day of the Dead, on Nov. 4. Diwali is a major Hindu holiday widely celebrated in India, Singapore, Malaysia and many Asian-American communities. The holiday commemorates the return of the Hindu Lord Rama and the triumph of good and light over evil and darkness. It is a five-day celebration during which people throw parties, decorate their homes with garland and light fireworks and candles to ward off evil spirits.
So before you give December all the holiday credit, think about everything that early to mid-November has to offer. Even Hanukkah’s getting on the November train this year; the eight-night celebration starts on Nov. 29.
Gino Giansanti, ALE
As a master procrastinator, I believe in firm deadlines to help define my schedule. So in this tradition, I will mark Thanksgiving as the official start date of the winter holiday season, with Nov. 1 as the soft start date for all holiday movies and music.
I want to be clear that I am a Christmas maniac, so do not call me a Scrooge for trying to contain the festivities until after turkey day. I see Thanksgiving as the official start date of the holidays because, like the many winter holidays, it centers around family, friends and most importantly food. Plus, as a faithful viewer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I know that Santa Claus’ sleigh coming down 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan means that I need to get working on my Christmas list.
Now when I refer to the holiday season, I am specifically referring to the winter holiday season. Abby brings up a good point that there are several significant holidays that deserve recognition despite falling outside of the Thanksgiving to New Year’s time frame, however, we all know that one holiday gets a little too much attention despite the many holidays of the holiday season. Whether for better or for worse, Christmas is a bit of a diva and takes a little too much of the spotlight. By containing its influence to after Thanksgiving, we can take a little more time to appreciate everything else the calendar has to offer.
Take the fact that we live in New England — it’s an absolutely beautiful place to be in the fall. If we stretch the holiday season too far into October, pumpkins and mums will be traded in for lights and reindeer earlier and earlier. I’m a firm believer that everything is good in moderation, so if the winter holidays are able to gobble up any more of the year, it’ll lose the magic that gets us excited about them year after year.
My one discrepancy, however, is that holiday movies and music are fair game after the trick-or-treaters run their course. The holiday season, no matter what you’re celebrating, is a busy time of year and sometimes it can be hard to carve out a spare moment to sit down and watch “The Polar Express” with a mug full of hot chocolate. So if you have the time before the hustle and bustle of December, then watch “Home Alone” and belt out to Mariah Carey. Just do it with a glass of apple cider and a slice of pumpkin pie.