Strolling through the mall yesterday afternoon, I came across a vision of the holidays well known in shopping centres around the developed world- Santa Claus. In his bright red velour suit, synthetic white beard and suspiciously lens-less glasses, he is a staple of the our vision of Christmas. Now, I’m all for the holiday spirit. I love the sights and sounds of the season, and have been known to shout holiday songs at the top of my lungs with gusto. But on November 16th, Santa Claus looked pretty bored.
Why, I wonder, does the holiday season seem to begin in early November? Is it the push from retailers to peddle their wares for as long as possible? Is it a ploy by music producers to make us so sick of Christmas songs by December that we’ll take any sub-par musical offerings that don’t include the use of jingle-bells? Are we grasping at straws in an otherwise bleak season of early winter, attempting to find some joy in an otherwise barren and grey month?
It seems that over the years, the holiday season has begun earlier and earlier. Nowadays, once Halloween pumpkins have turned blue with mold, we bust out the evergreens. Much to the chagrin of pets everywhere, we bring trees into our houses and decorate them in brightly coloured tinsel. Confusing behaviour indeed. The mall Santa Claus is just the tip of the holiday iceberg. Neighbours mount icicle lights and fake reindeers on their rooves. “Jingle Bells” pipes through department store sound-systems, holiday-focused advertisements urge us to buy the latest and greatest in toys and electronics.
Certainly, there is a time and place for Christmas merriment. I love the joy and excitement that comes with a crisp and snowy December morning. Green and red are my favorite colours come Christmas. I love the holidays as much as the next person… but that Santa looked a little bored in early November.