Lights before turkey? A holiday crisis


: The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is put up on the last day of November, indicating, for many, the true beginning of the Christmas season.

As pumpkins and spooky Halloween decorations are taken down, the start of November is recognized by the debate over holidays. Some waste no time in replacing jack-o’-lanterns with Christmas garlands and lights. Others are not so eager to jump into the holiday spirit. Of course, there are also those who keep up Christmas lights all year round. 

In recent years, the debate over the appropriate time to begin Christmas celebrations has had quite a bit of attention. The primary argument is between those who say that celebrations can begin on the first day of November and those who think it’s preposterous to engage in Christmas festivities before Thanksgiving. 

“If I hear Mariah Carey before Thanksgiving, then we’re going to have a problem,” said  Wyatt Wolgin, a first-year at Guilford, when asked about his opinions on the matter. He shared that he dislikes the fact that Thanksgiving is sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, and that he likes Thanksgiving more than Christmas because of the food.

Grace Holmes, a junior, believes Christmas should only be celebrated after Thanksgiving. When asked if there could be an exception to this rule, she simply replied: “none.” 

Holmes criticized those who start to celebrate Christmas, saying, “I think they are actually insane, like verifiably insane.” She also believes that Thanksgiving is overlooked.

 “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, simply because it’s about spending time with those who matter to you and being grateful for what you have, and so I believe it’s extremely overlooked between Halloween and Christmas,” she said.

Stores like Walmart or Macy’s start to get into the holiday spirit as soon as Halloween ends. Christmas music, lights, cardboard Santas, elves and fake gift boxes are often on display in department stores. Despite the not-so-subtle persuasion by stores to celebrate Christmas early, Mark Wencel, an accounting professor at Guilford, said that he personally likes to begin celebrating after Thanksgiving. 

Wencel also highlighted the importance of family during the holiday season. “I think a lot of it has to do with family…because Thanksgiving is more about giving thanks and getting together with family,” he said. “I guess if I lived alone and didn’t have a family, I wouldn’t probably celebrate Thanksgiving.” 

Spade Cipriano, a first-year and chemistry major, believes that Christmas truly begins right after Thanksgiving. However, she also acknowledged the history of Thanksgiving: “I honestly don’t like Thanksgiving that much. It’s kind of a useless holiday that honors very colonialist ideals.It’s kind of like Valentine’s Day; it’s a capitalist holiday.” 

While she acknowledged that she doesn’t celebrate Christmas for its religious significance, Cipriano said, “I was raised Christian, and the birth of Christ is a very significant event in the religion.”

 Ryan Johnson, a Guilford Early College junior, justified her early celebration of Christmas, saying, “The difference between Thanksgiving and Christmas is that Christmas is a season and Thanksgiving is just a day.”

First-year Areli Patterson also thinks Christmas should be celebrated early. When asked what an appropriate time to start Christmas festivities is, she promptly responded, “The day after Halloween.” 

“Personally, I just love Christmas music so when I get the chance, I’m going to listen to Christmas music,” Patterson said. Even though she loves to put on Christmas music the first chance she gets,  Patterson said that she recognizes that there is a valid reason for people to start celebrating Christmas after Thanksgiving, considering the fact the two holidays are in different months.  

Tanisha Golla, an early college junior at Guilford, revealed that her neighbor keeps up their Christmas tree all year, every year, and that she is shocked by this. “I see it in the window all through the year, not just during the Christmas season,” she said.

Both Holmes and Wolgin categorized people who keep up their Christmas lights and/or trees all year as simply lazy,  rather than incredibly festive or passionate about Christmas. 

Ultimately, celebration of either holiday truly depends on every individual’s reason for celebrating. Some, like Cipriano, don’t see much significance in Thanksgiving, and others, like Johnson, believe that  the whole season revolves around Christmas. Many, like Wolgin and Wencel, appreciate Thanksgiving for family and food. All of these different perspectives can change the timing of when people might begin celebrating Christmas. 

Whether you put up lights before setting the turkey on the dining table or patiently wait until after Thanksgiving  to play “All I Want for Christmas is You” and decorate the tree, the holidays are upon us and so is the opportunity to make new memories with those we love.