As soon as Halloween and fall decorations come down, they appear to be replaced overnight with Christmas ones, but not in my house. I think it is only respectful to wait until after Remembrance Day to even consider putting up the Christmas tree. My grandfather, John William Setchell, who was in bomb disposal in the Second World War, deserves that.
Practically speaking, it makes sense to put up Christmas lights and decorations outside while the weather is nice and the ground isn’t frozen solid, but that doesn’t mean they have to be turned on right away. We can wait 11 days for those and the interior decorations.
Emotionally, we need a break in holidays. We need to pause and not keep hitting the fast-forward button on life. Part of the enjoyment of everything in life is not only the act itself, but also talking about and cherishing the memories. That becomes almost impossible if we’ve already skipped to the next holiday. We need to slow down. Savour the present. Savour today. Be grateful. Breathe.
Also, we don’t need “holiday attention deficit disorder.” We need the valley between the highs to even be able to recognize a high. This goes for our homes and in our stores. I was not prepared to see Christmas decorations up full force the week after Halloween. Can’t I just be happy and proud of myself for our Halloween costumes and celebrations and not feel like I’m already behind in preparing for Christmas? Surely there are 11 days of merchandise that can come out that are not elf-related following Halloween?
We need to remember Remembrance Day. We need to remember and respect those who served our country and, by extension, us. I choose to honour all of those who lost their lives in battle, or who survived but were changed forever. I choose to not pick up a figurative candy cane mocha right after I finish my pumpkin spice latte.
I also choose to pump the breaks on consumerism. November used to be that break, before the Black Friday sale craze gripped Canada as well. Now, as Halloween has become a major commercial extravaganza, our shopping gas pedal is primed and pressure starts being added to the pedal almost exponentially toward Christmas. It isn’t until after Boxing Day that flyers stop triggering us to get out and get those deals before they are gone and we will have missed out.
It seems like retail businesses have taken a few sentences out of the story between the bigger commercial successes. I ask them to leave Remembrance Day in the story and not gloss over it.
On Nov. 6, it was reported that Whole Foods issued a uniform policy banning employees from wearing poppies. To say this is repugnant, is an understatement. They reversed their policy, but not before some politicians used the move to try and gain some credibility for themselves by banning such bannings.
In our homes, if you feel the need to fill the fall decorations with new ones in November, how about a poppy in the window campaign, or a Remembrance Day door wreath? Need to post a photo on social media? Show me the veteran you are honouring, tell me the story about them. I really don’t want to see your Christmas tree before Nov. 12. I’m honouring my grandfather, for his service, with the hope that our cities never look like the ones he faced in Europe.
The same goes for retailers. On Nov. 12, you can stock all your Christmas merchandise and put the Christmas Carols on repeat ad nauseum. Please revere Remembrance Day properly, giving it the respect and dignity that it deserves.