Jamieson Wang, Contributor
While I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying the new Michael Buble Christmas album as I sip my Caramel Brulee Latte in its cheery red Starbucks’ Christmas cup, I can’t help but wonder if I’m getting prematurely excited for the holiday season. Since the beginning of November, walking down Bloor Street has indeed brought a smile to my face more than once; but maybe that’s just because I have a somewhat demented appreciation for consumerism. On the other hand, the idea of a Santa Claus parade in the middle of November is admittedly strange. In recent years it seems like the months pass solely as progressions from one holiday to the next. We willingly transition from turkey to pumpkins, to candy canes and wrapping paper.
Undoubtedly the cheer of the Christmas season has at least some effect on everyone. By starting the celebratory period early, we have more time to get excited and stay excited, usually all the way until New Year’s Day. And for those who hate to rush, or those who simply love to shop, there is more than enough time to complete the arduous task of gift shopping. While the timing may be questionable, public events like the Santa Claus parade are commendable in the way that they promote families to spend more time together, which is what Christmas is really all about. The presence of bright lights everywhere help us forget about the early sunsets and the falling temperatures. And although Toronto is a vastly multicultural city, the way the holiday spirit is publicly displayed has a way of bringing people together, encouraging them to smile and letting them know there is reason to celebrate.
Contrastingly, there are a surprising number of people who seem to be rather annoyed with the early start to the Christmas season. A friend of mine claimed to have been unable to stand the carols blasting in Sears at the Eaton Center, and to have left without accomplishing whatever task she had intended to complete. The issue has been brought up that people could actually grow sick of the exaggerated holiday spirit before the actual day even arrives! Admittedly, walking into any department store or commercial establishment tends to be a little overwhelming during the Christmas season, especially if the displays lasts for a whole two months. I appreciate the creative holiday decorations, but the imposing presence of advertising and the blatant encouragement of mega-consumerism make me feel rather uncomfortable. While almost everything is initially exciting, overexposure can cause serious annoyance or a loss of interest.
Does Christmas in November spread cheer and a feeling of unity in the spirit of celebration, or does it so glaringly promote consumerism that the public no longer remember the essence of the holiday season? The public play a vital role in the way that commercialism develops. Christmas in November is as much something that is imposed on us as something we subconsciously want. Think about that when you’re doing your Christmas shopping over a month in advance.