He sees you when you are sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake,
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
But wait till after Halloween for goodness sake!
These are the lyrics that ran through my head as I passed by the Christmas decorations on George’s Street while on my way to buy a Halloween costume. Surprisingly, the Christmas decorations did not entice me to go and buy a Santa Claus jumper in Pennys or Dunnes instead of a genuine Halloween costume. Now it’s not unheard of for Santa or Rudolf to make an appearance as a budget-friendly Halloween costume, but that costume is one which lingers at the back of the coat closet, waiting to be discovered in a frantic rush on the afternoon of Halloween, not stumbled upon in the front window of Dublin’s biggest retail chains.
So if Santa isn’t trying to extend his monopoly to the Halloween market, can we seriously consider the fact that Christmas had arrived before Halloween had even passed? Perhaps next year Santa’s sleigh will be lit by a pumpkin rather than Rudolf’s bright-red nose, as retail chains continue to push the boundaries of Christmas consumerism. Watch out Halloween, Christmas is coming for you.
As easy as it may be to ridicule Christmasween, the fact remains that such intense consumerism is a tumour on our society. Retails chains invest large amounts of money in aesthetically pleasing shop-fronts in the knowledge that such investments are even safer than foreign investments in Irish banks. Parents are now subjected to a minimum of seven weeks’ worth of pressure from children, as mass advertising continues to brainwash our society in the build-up to the increasingly secularised Christmas day.
Long gone are the days of midnight vigils and Christmas carols, however, are the days of the family gathered around the fire with mugs of hot-chocolate and Home Alone playing the background soon to follow? Granted that such visions of family harmony are idealised, but each family has their own version of this script, that moment when you know that Christmas has arrived, however imperfect it may be.
So as we prepare for next week’s arrival of Christmas lights and Christmas markets in Dublin’s city centre, we should embrace the communal aspect of such events while continuing to ignore the avaricious-consumerism which undercuts them. In a world of increasing communicability, governed by the internet and the media, Christmas will continue to come earlier and earlier. The question remains, how early is too early?
If there is a possibility of Santa’s sleigh crashing into a bonfire, or of Rudolf being blinded by the low-rising November sun, then Christmas has arrived too early. Christmas belongs to those frosty December nights which can be counted on an Advent calendar with every bite of chocolate, let’s keep it that way.