The Great Debate: How Early is Too Early for Christmas?

Posted by Heather Galloway on Nov 3rd 2019

The raging debate this month has nothing to do with politics. Everyone's taking sides on how early is too early for Christmas.  It gets even trickier when you start talking about all the categories of Christmas--store displays, music, indoor decorations, outdoor decorations--the debate is long and rages forward every fall.

It feels like Christmas store displays show up earlier and earlier every year.  Christmas in July used to be a quirky sales campaign, but now it's rapidly approaching reality as big box retailers started putting out some Christmas decor in late August this year. Most of us would agree that August is too early.  Lots of folks would agree that Christmas stuff should at least be limited until after Halloween. However, things get heated as soon as the calendar rolls to November. 

Proponents of early Christmas decorating cite a love of the season, like in this fun article over at It's a lot of work to put up (and take down), so they want to make sure and have enough time to thoroughly enjoy the effort. Some families have split attendance over Thanksgiving and Christmas, as families alternate holidays to fit in time with all the extended family. This occurrence means that many families see the Thanksgiving to Christmas time frame almost like one holiday, where gifts could be exchanged at any point and any time together is a holiday experience. 

Opponents of early decoration often cite the "assault" on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving sits right between Halloween and Christmas--both strong holidays filled with unique decor, fond memories, and classic music to fit the mood. Thanksgiving doesn't really have any of these things. There are only so many turkey knick knacks one can have, and there isn't really a wealth of Thanksgiving music outside of the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving episode. Thanksgiving can have fond memories or stressful memories, depending on your personal family experiences.  So, it's no wonder that Thanksgiving gets squished by these other giant holidays. 

What if you love Christmas stuff, but don't want to ruffle too many feathers?  Ease into Christmas over the month of November instead of bringing a Christmas onslaught into your life. Keep a pumpkin and other decor from Halloween (but not the jack-o-lantern pumpkin) that can carry you into fall colors and themes. But pull in some Christmas elements like a plain evergreen wreath where you can later add decorations for the full Christmas effect. Put out some plain garland around some outdoor fall elements for your table arrangements.  Light up some pine or berry scented candles to start shifting those subtle senses from fall to winter.  Perhaps put up your tree just before Thanksgiving but don't decorate until after the big Thanksgiving meal (and even include the extended family in putting something on the tree that day).  Putting a little bit out at a time can take the stress out of the all-at-once decoration and can actually improve your enjoyment of the whole season.