When Life Gets Too Serious: The War Against Early Christmas Decorating

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

It’s mid-October and it’s already the unofficial second month of the Christmas season in the Philippines. It is November. I started writing this a few weeks ago and obviously didn’t get around to finishing it. Busy is good and busy would not leave my side lately. 

My family and I have yet to decide about buying a Christmas tree this year. We’re a family that moves around a lot, so a Christmas tree for us has been out of the question. We once bought an eight-foot tree which ended up rotting after staying too long in storage. We could not fly the tree to the island, and we had rentals that did not have enough space. It was a tall one and more than a meter in diameter. Now I’m asking myself, what were we thinking? Then I remember that it was Cole who asked for it. He was around eight that time and wanted a brightly-lit tree in our quaint home for his birthday. It was an old but well-maintained, oddly-shaped apartment quietly tucked somewhere in the Teacher’s Village -- just a few years before Maginhawa became famous for its food festival and living there was not all too hyped up (and expensive) yet. We left our decorations hanging the entire year and packed them all up when it was time to move again.

Cole was born on December 24, by the way. {I had quite an eventful albeit “laborsome” Christmas eve once upon a time.}

As if on cue, our five-year old daughter asked us to play Christmas songs on the first week of September and the music hasn’t stopped since. I’ve found myself mumbling around the “12 Days of Christmas” song, taking quick breaks from my chores to check the lyrics online and see what it was that ‘my true love gave to me on the fifth day of Christmas’. The song never ends inside your head. You get to the 12th day of Christmas and you’re back to wondering what it was again that you got on the seventh day. And if milking maids still exist. 

Do You Say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’ or Happy Halloween, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year?

Not everyone around the world share the Filipinos’ enthusiasm for a (very) long Christmas season, unfortunately. Campaigns against premature Christmas decorating are quite baffling for the rest of us who enjoy the lights, the colors and the seasonal effect of Christmas. I don’t mind seeing brightly-lit Christmas trees {or zombified Santas} around me the entire year although I also delight in the thought of being followed around by zombies or Regan McNeil in the dark. My enthusiasm for things are mystifying, so I’ve heard.

So, is it a call against excessive use of electricity because we’ve gone far from the simple old stocking to 3D tech-y trees? Is it a cultural cry, or a religious one perhaps? What is it that make some people tick and hold up signs against early Christmas decorating? It could be one or all of that, but it seems like the war is targeted towards retailers who send off a sense of panic to consumers once they start putting up huge holiday sale signs even before Thanksgiving. In the U.S. people hold their breath and tighten their belts for the Black Friday sales. But if madness sales begin even before Thanksgiving, the “pressure” and “stress” related to shopping also affect people prematurely. Not everyone is happy about that, so to lessen the impact of the so called shopping rush and the negative association of the retail madness to Christmas, giant retailers started saying ‘happy holidays’ instead of merry Christmas’ to address the concern. 

I know, I know. 

A petition  to Stop Premature Christmas Decorating was posted at Change.org and got the support of 12 very unhappy people. And because I find it entertaining, I’m sharing the petition here with you:

Every year, millions of Americans watch in horror as stores around the country start selling Christmas decorations before October has even arrived. This is a tragedy that must be stopped. Innocent Americans are subjected to endless hours of agonizing advertisements for christmas sales. Somewhere right now, a small child is writhing in agony as his eyes are assaulted by QVC Christmas sales. Help stop this madness. Think of the the children.

My son and I were walking inside the mall last October 28 when he suddenly said, “This is very confusing. Christmas songs are playing and there are Halloween and Christmas decorations everywhere.”

“Welcome, once again, to the ever so wonderful country called the Philippines where entertainment is at its best. Make sale, not war,” I told him.

One of life’s valuable rules: Wait until you get to the other side to decide whether life should be taken too seriously or not.

We don't have Black Friday in the Philippines, but there is crazy day sale every single day. The possibility is endless when it comes to shopping. Even a tight budget is not a good enough reason not to hoard because clothes can go as low as PhP 50 (less than a 1 USD). The sales are everywhere and they happen all year round. You just need to know where to go and who to take with you. 

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