‘Tis the season

‘Twas the month before Christmas, when all through the shop, not a creature was stirring, but the workers won’t stop. The stockings were placed on the shelves with care, in hopes that early shoppers soon would be there. 

And early shoppers there will be. 

Every year in November, this story finds itself being repeated. The holidays are known as the happiest time of the year, so naturally stores would want to extend that period of time. 

Castleton senior Jasmin Gomez, who has seen her fair share of time working in retail, has spent many November weekends stocking the shelves, and decking the halls. 

“They definitely plan in advance,” Gomez said. “I’d go in one weekend, and be stocking things for fall, and Thanksgiving, and the next weekend I go in and all the shelves I stocked are now Christmas,” Gomez added. 

Obviously, the holiday season brings retailers a lot of opportunities to boost their revenue. It’s all about the money, money, money, baby. 

“It’s a big deal for retail, so they like to get all those items out early,” she said. 

And putting them out early does benefit another Castleton senior, Jay Grant, whose family is no stranger to the holiday spirit. 

“For us, the colder months of the year can especially be a bit harder, so we find that being in the holiday spirit helps a lot,” Grant said. “We may not be as big into it as others, but we have enough of it to the point where the holidays are certainly a bright spot during the year for us,” he added. 

But why would people want to start preparing in early November for holidays in December? 

Well, some people just like to be early to the party. 

Some people just like to plan ahead, and there’s nothing wrong with that. People like to embrace the holiday mood as early as they can, and hold onto it for as much time as they can, and with good reason. 

Emma Gilmore, an early college student at Castleton, has no problem with decorating ahead of schedule. 

“I put up a little tree in my room on Nov. 1, so I guess I like to start it pretty early,” Gilmore said. 

Putting up a tree, or some lights is one thing, but then there are those who go above and beyond. We all know them – the ones who seem like they’re trying to recreate the Griswold house. 

“It takes a lot of work that we don’t really have the time or energy to put into that,” Gilmore said. 

That’s what it comes down to. These are people who want to go out of their way, and put in the effort to create a Christmas atmosphere for those who see it. 

“We like those people. We’re always very entertained by heavily decorated houses and properties, and it’s good to know that a lot of people aim to spread holiday cheer in this way,” Grant said. 

To go along with the holiday festivities, you can’t forget about the music. Christmas carols are an iconic staple of the winter months, and will be forever. 

With an endless list of songs to choose from, and the most popular ones ranging anywhere from the 1930’s all the way to the present, there’s literally something for everybody. 

“Personally, I have no problem with playing Christmas songs in November. Some of them are absolute jams, so what’s not to love?” Grant said. 

Gomez, who has experience working with Christmas radio on repeat, might say otherwise. 

“It’s super repetitive, so that gets a little frustrating after a while,” she said. “It might make you a little bit sick of the holidays before they even come.” 

Grant definitely isn’t the person Gomez was trying to describe, however. 

“I get that Thanksgiving is before Christmas, but what’s the harm in having Christmas carols a month before Christmas time?” Grant said. 

Of course, one can’t mention Christmas, decorations, and carols without mentioning the movies. 

Oh, the classic movies. 

As long as Christmas is celebrated, the Grinch will always be trying to steal it, Buddy the Elf will be helping Santa save it, and Kevin McCallister will be tormenting the wet bandits at home while his family is in France.

And depending on how you see it, John McClane will be killing terrorists in Nakatomi plaza, but the point is, everybody loves the classic Christmas movies. They’re simply staples of Christmas time. 

Well, almost everybody loves them. 

“I don’t really get into it. Like ‘Elf,’ and stuff like that, the staples. I don’t really get into it,” Gomez said. 

Ironically, the one Christmas movie she does like is “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” with Jim Carey. 

Grant’s family sees these films as a yearly chance for family bonding. 

“My family loves to watch holiday movies during the holidays. Some of our favorites are ‘Elf,’ ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,’ and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’” he said. 

For some people, the winter holiday festivities just don’t hit the same way that they do for others. For some, like Castleton sophomores Zach Thomas and Shawn Allen, decoration energy is reserved for a different sort of holiday theme. 

“I’m about as festive as the next guy, but I’m a pretty big Halloween guy,” Thomas said. “My dad and I would make the side yard into a graveyard with a fog machine, and lights. It was really cool,” Thomas said. 

Allen shares Thomas’ views, as he also chooses Halloween over Christmas. 

“We decorate for Halloween, but we’ll drive past people with crazy Christmas lights and say ‘hey, there’s the Griswold’s,’” Allen said while laughing. 

Once again, this feeling is shared between the two of them. 

“I’ll pass houses that are decked head-to-toe with projector lights, and moving parts, and I’m like ‘how many hours did you put into this?’ Like how dedicated do you have to be to do that?” Thomas wonders. “The cleanup’s probably hell too,” Thomas added. 

As long as holidays are celebrated, there’s always going to be iconic movies to watch, catchy tunes on the radio, Griswold’s that over-decorate their house, and Scrooge’s that look the other way. 

But maybe that’s part of what makes winter holidays special. The fact that not everyone sees them the same way. Whether it be someone’s faith, traditions, or overall beliefs, who are we to judge someone for not reciprocating the same feeling toward the holidays? 

“It’s not even Halloween and you see all these thanksgiving things. Then it’s not even Thanksgiving and you see all the Christmas stuff,” Gomez said. “It’s a little overwhelming, and sometimes stressful,” she said. 

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