Opinion: The November divide

Lucas Misera

This month has been particularly divisive. Presidential elections have everyone on edge – perhaps, for good reason – but the quadrennial nature of the United States’ most important voting day has overshadowed an otherwise annual debate that arrives every November.

Yes, pre-Thanksgiving Christmas observers, this column is directed at your habit of prematurely forcing tinsel, holiday shopping and the oft overplayed rendition of “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey onto the rest of us.

According to an article from The Fiscal Times, nearly 30 million Americans began purchasing gifts for the holiday season before mid-September; 20 percent of those shoppers also said that all gifts would be purchased by Thanksgiving.

To put that into perspective, a 2007 article from the Napa Valley Register reported that 26 percent of Americans identify themselves as “chronic procrastinators.” So, although one in four Americans struggle getting critical tasks completed in a timely manner, an astonishing one in five will have Christmas shopping done an entire month before Christmas Day.

In most cases, I’d applaud the general public for a mass case of motivation. Yet the fact that such motivation involves leapfrogging Thanksgiving is a travesty.

Of course, corporations contribute to the problem; stores are prepared to prey on consumers shortly after Halloween, lining shelves with red and green and shamelessly playing Christmas music with no regard for November.

I assure you that I am no Grinch. Rather, the inner economist in me worries the excess supply of Christmas spirit radiating from corporations and peers will crush the value of the holiday.

Christmas has its time and place — namely December— although, I understand the excitement. No other time throughout the year is kindness so evident. For many, the generosity and joy associated with the holiday season is contagious.

However, the beauty of Thanksgiving is that it forces us to slow down and take one day off — whether that day off is spent quarterbacking for a family football game, falling into a deep turkey-induced food coma or hearing the all-too-common estranged uncle explain whom he voted for in the election.

Appreciate Thanksgiving and its purpose. After all, how often do we as college students get to spend extensive time with loved ones?

If you need me Nov. 24, I’ll be hunkered down in front of the television, watching football and fighting off the effects of tryptophan.

As for Christmas: I’ll see you in December.

Lucas Misera is the opinion editor, contact him at [email protected].