On Our Minds: Decking the halls must wait until after Thanksgiving


Alex Koetje, Photographer

Illustration showing several Christmas trees with one in front decorated with red garlands, white snow a star. There is much debate over when the right time to celebrate Christmas is.

Riley LeCocq, Columnist

Editor’s Note: This column does not represent the opinion of The Daily Barometer. This column reflects the personal opinions of the writer.

The age-old debate between Mariah Carey songs before the turkey and waiting until Dec. 1 to hang light displays has begun; it’s time to settle when the holidays truly begin.

Winter holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa all have their own official times of festivities, but the time for celebration is often long before the days on which these holidays actually begin. 

I am a personal believer that Christmas begins with Black Friday, arguably a holiday in and of itself. The day after Thanksgiving is the first acceptable appearance of trees, candles and sleigh bells, but I can find myself happy to appreciate the joy of the season from those around me.  

Ashli Quintela, a fifth-year student majoring in human development and family sciences at Oregon State University, experiences the commercial build up to Christmas firsthand in her work as a shift lead at Starbucks. 

“As soon as October hits is when our radios start to change a little bit,” Quintela said. 

The same is true at home for Quintela as her partner rushes to hang lights as early as the morning after Halloween to declare the beginning of ‘miss Mariah Carey season.’

“The holiday season starts as soon as Halloween is over, so Nov. 1,” said Maria Doung, a third-year biohealth science major at OSU. “Maybe I’m just leaning into the marketing of consumerism, but I think anyone can do what they want to.” 

While consumerism’s influence is strong, the real cause for arguably premature celebration comes from the feeling of togetherness and traditions. 

For me, the seasonal flavors and ambiance of a festively decorated coffee shop always kick-starts my mood to begin celebrating any holiday but Christmas in particular. 

“My family always loves decorating for Christmas early. The decorations are up when we have Thanksgiving dinner… that’s what I like about it: just the overall seasonal environment,” Doung said. 

Though Quintela and Doung are happy to deck the halls as soon as pumpkins go away, many feel it is essential to acknowledge a period of time between the two holidays.

A self-proclaimed strong believer in this is Cameron Fletcher, a first-year mechanical engineering student at OSU.

“The holiday season starts after Thanksgiving, at the very latest Dec. 1, at the earliest Nov. 26,” Fletcher said. “I think it is ridiculous to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving in any facet.” 

While I personally side with Fletcher, Quintela brings up a good point, which has shifted my own idea of when to begin celebrating the holidays. 

“[If you wait to celebrate], the holidays are already over and you’ve missed so much, and for what?” Quintela asked. 

Fletcher notes that his signifiers of the holidays are decorating the house with lights, getting a Christmas tree set up and drinking hot chocolate, which are all strictly post-Thanksgiving activities in his family. 

“I know a lot of people think that [celebrating Christmas so early] is dissing Thanksgiving,” Doung said. “I don’t think that is actually true… It is really dependent on the family. I personally like doing it because I think it creates a nice environment whenever you have family over.” 

While there is no way to fight the early commercial start or make everyone replace their jack-o-lanterns with snowmen right away, the novelty of the season is what creates such a debate and makes the holidays so personal and special to each individual. 

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