It’s the first week of October and I’m already stressed about how quickly Christmas is coming. I think this is mostly fueled by the commercials that Disney parks are running about spending the winter holidays with them.
Seeing a commercial featuring Disneyland and snowflakes advertising the dates of Christmas episodes airing in October makes me panic! Call me a Scrooge, but I don’t even want to be flooded with Halloween décor the first week of October, much less Christmas.
I would be willing to write off one Disney commercial. I understand that planning a vacation to an expensive destination such as a Disney Park could require planning in advance, but it’s not just the Disney commercials. Already I’m beginning to see gift guides trickling in on my social media feeds. On top of this, this year I have discovered a new bane of my existence: year-round Christmas accounts on TikTok and Instagram.
These kinds of accounts continue to pop up on my suggested posts and For You page, causing me increasing distress at the break-neck pace Christmas approaches each year. While I admire the stylish editing of aesthetically pleasing Christmas TikTok — and think it’s okay to daydream — this pattern of hurried holiday seasons has harmful implications.
While Christmas is celebrated by both religious and secular families, this centralization of Christmas as the only holiday only further alienates those who celebrate differently, or don’t celebrate at all.
Don’t read me wrong here, it’s not bad to be excited about celebrating whatever you do. However, by blowing Christmas up earlier each year, it creates a longer window for those who don’t participate to be left out. Even more concerning, it makes for an even crazier Christmas market.
Christmas, while a meaningful holiday for the traditions we celebrate and one of the biggest chunks of quality time most of us get with family and friends, is also a huge event for consumerism.
The United States populace goes hog wild for holiday shopping, spending massive amounts of money on what is basically crap. Items that are cheaply made, momentarily trendy and not intended for long-term use all fly off of the shelves during the shopping season. Creating a longer shopping season that begins in October only feeds the beast that is unethical consumption in America.
After all is said and done and Christmas has gone, I’m often left feeling the worst I do all year. What is there to look forward to after spending the final three months of the year preparing for a day that passes in the blink of an eye? I dread the empty sort of feeling that I get when the new year has started and there won’t be any reason to be merry and bright for quite some time.
I hate being a party pooper. I want to be excited for Christmas because there’s so much fun in holiday togetherness, but I fear for what it’s doing to our ability to be mindful and fully present during the last few months of the year. We spend so much time romanticizing how wonderful the coming season will be, rather than being able to appreciate it during the moment. Speeding the year along and wishing for Christmas to come sooner dampens our ability to savor the present.
I hope after this article comes out, I won’t be visited by the three ghosts of Christmas. I only want to encourage everyone to practice mindfulness this year — it might help you extend your contentedness beyond the thrill of the Christmas season.
Photo from Getty Images.