I’d like to propose a ban to Christmas marketing. It’s only mid-November and I’m already sick of the Christmas paraphernalia that surrounds us. It’s everywhere, and there are still 6 weeks to go!
My problem isn’t the actual celebration, but let’s be honest: Christmas just isn’t what it used it to be. I don’t hate it (I don’t love it either) but I feel like I am quietly sitting on the fence: it happens, my kids love it so we celebrate it with my family and friends but I’m happy when it’s done and dusted.
I’m not sure if this has happened before, but this year it feels like the “commercial Christmas Spirit” started just a little too early for my liking. Even before we had Halloween covered, decorations were being placed in shopping centres, airports, public spaces and supermarkets started stocking traditional Christmas fare as early as mid October! Santa photo booths started popping up for the traditional family shots. Facebook friends were posting images of their already assembled and decorated Christmas trees, and radio stations started churning out the dulcet tones of Michael Buble’s Christmas tunes weeks ago (not to mention good-old Mariah, but don’t get me started on her!). Really SmoothFM? Is that necessary? ENOUGH!
Personally, I think this is going too far. I don’t need 12 weeks of a marketing run-up for an event I know happens at the same time every year! I don’t need to watch as my children start writing their Christmas wish-list in November — by the time Christmas comes around that list is 3 pages long, and I just know I’m setting them up for disappointment when they realise only a handful of that list is under the tree on Christmas morning. I don’t want to be inundated with spam mail from retailers about their incredible Christmas ideas — the perfect table settings, the perfect gifts, the perfect spread, all at unbelievable prices.
When I was living in Europe, marketing of Christmas began in mid-November (the famous Regent Street Christmas lights in London officially opens on Nov. 17th) and most other retail outlets followed this date to start decorating and promoting the event.
There is a Christian tradition that dictates that Christmas trees should go up on December 1st — and if you do it any earlier, it is bad luck for your home. Catholic tradition dictates that your tree should go up on December 8 — the day of the Immaculate Conception. If you’re in Rome on that day, head to St. Peter’s Square and watch the giant tree light up for the first time — it is quite spectacular! Pagan tradition actually suggests we put up trees on the Winter Solstice — that’s December 21st! (I think I prefer the Pagan tradition!). Nowhere in the celebrations’ history have Christmas trees gone up in October or early November.
So I don’t think it’s unreasonable to propose a ban to Christmas marketing — at least until late November — early December. That still gives retailers a 4 week run up, and I’m sure research will prove that most people leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute anyway! So don’t even think of calling me Ebenezer Scrooge…I just want the real Christmas spirit back.
And while I’m proposing this ban, maybe we should think about Hot Cross buns and chocolate eggs landing in supermarkets on the 2nd of January…bah humbug!