What’s happened to November? This, I think, is the real question that should be on the tip of all of our tongues. When you see people, don’t ask how they are, don’t ask if they’re studying for exams yet, don’t ask if they need help with that gaping wound in their leg. No, first and foremost, we need to know what happened to November.
It all seemed to be going so well. Everything seemed to be on track for a perfectly normal and decent November to happen. October was crisp, days got shorter, the weather got colder. Bats and skeletons and severed heads decorated shop windows.
But suddenly, Halloween was over, and November disappeared. This can be the only explanation for it. Because although all of our calendars and phones and laptops try to tell us that it is, in fact, November, I don’t believe it. Everywhere I look there are markers of December instead. The dreaded tinsel, plastic fir trees, red and silver baubles… Christmas, and December with it, has arrived in St Andrews, and there’s no mistaking it.
Don’t tell me that you can put Christmas decorations up in November.
“It’s after Halloween!” you cry. “It’s just getting into the spirit!”
Now look, I get it. Christmas is an important time of year. It’s a time for seeing your family, eating too much really good food, and for loving the people around you. Christmas doesn’t have to be religious – although I will acknowledge that for some people, that is an important aspect of the holiday – but there is a Christmas sentiment that is based in love and happiness and goodwill, and anybody who wants to can subscribe to that sentiment. That’s what I like about Christmas. I don’t have to be religious to feel happy when I see the fairy lights and hear the opening bars of my favourite Christmas song. It’s a time for being happy just for the sake of being happy, and that’s really beautiful.
There are so many Christmas traditions, and everyone’s are different. Some are cultural, national – in the UK, we have the John Lewis advert, for example (this year’s is not great, but let’s not get into that right now). Some differ between families – my mother’s side of the family always eat a ham for breakfast on Christmas morning, for no apparent reason other than that it tastes nice. I’m sure as I’m describing these, you’re thinking of your own Christmas traditions. All of these things are really important, and are part of what make this holiday so enjoyable. But you can’t start Christmas too early, and this, I am adamant about. Have whatever strange traditions you want, but have them in December. Dragging it out too long dilutes the quality of the holiday, and ensures we’re all thoroughly jaded long before the Advent Calendar’s are opened.
The first of December is the first day of Christmas, and nobody can tell me otherwise. If you drag out the ‘spirit’ for too long, by the time the actual day rolls around, you’re sick of looking at red and gold and green, you’re sick of hearing the same cheesy Christmas songs, you’re sick of literally anything and everything to do with Christmas.
Again, Christmas is a great holiday, and I hope that we all have a great one. Just not in November. Please.