Deck the Halls or Dread the Halls?


Designed by Lilah Goldman

Alexa Coughlan and Lilah Goldman

Why Decorating Early Saves You Time

By Alexa Coughlan

With 35 days until the big day, Santa is getting ready to go. Elves are putting in the work, and reindeer are in prime training time. Everyone is ready. 

Except for those who aren’t. 

Putting up Christmas decorations is always a controversial issue. When is it too early? Is it ever too early? 

OK, I will admit that putting up any type of decorations before Oct. 31 is a little overboard. I mean, at least wait until November. Christmas to me is no joke; my bedroom looks like Santa’s workshop. Trees, lights, nutcrackers, you name it, I have it. Starting Nov. 1 and lasting until Jan. 1, my room is overtaken with Christmas spirit. My family, on the other hand, likes to wait until after Thanksgiving. But come on, why does a turkey need a whole day to itself? I figure the earlier the decorations are up, the longer they can be appreciated.

When Hallmark starts showing their Christmas movies, it is like an understood acceptance for you to decorate your home for the holidays. Hallmark movies are a given Christmas tradition for my family. They’re absolutely mindless, you can start the movie halfway through and know that the small town girl is still going to fall for her high school boyfriend when he comes back from the city for the holidays. I want my room to look like a set straight from a Hallmark movie.

Along with Hallmark movies starting early, stores are already putting out Christmas items for sale at the very beginning of November; some even put theirs out midway through October! If you’re going to buy decorations in November, why not put them up? Why should you have to go trudging through the attic trying to find the decoration storage bins, when you’re just going to have to pull them right back out? It makes absolutely no sense. Decorating early saves you the time of having to do things like that. This year, there is a backup in the supply chain. People are trying to get their shopping done early, and where are they going to put the gifts after they are wrapped if they don’t have a tree set up? Nowhere. They will sadly sit in some dark closet until the Scrooges who didn’t decorate early decide to put them under the tree. 

An old lady once told me not to decorate early because when you’re older, you will realise that you don’t want to rush to the holiday celebrations. While decorating early shows that you want the future to come sooner for some, I just like to look at the pretty lights for as long as I can, and experience the joy that Christmas time brings for two months instead of one. And that’s what I told her. Though she probably found me idiotic, at least i’m doing what makes me happy.



Why Christmas Isn’t as Considerate as You Think 

By Lilah Goldman

There is a long-lasting epidemic of people putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving and it is exhausting to every aspect of the holiday season. As a Jewish person, I have been unimpressed by Christmastime for most of my life, but even more so in the past couple of years. It’s hard to understand why one can be so spirited about a holiday that revolves around the stresses of gift-giving and family gatherings as early as November 1.

Maybe I am bitter because I had to sit and watch my Catholic cousins open gifts on Christmas morning while I heard, “Sorry Lilah, Santa doesn’t give gifts to Jewish kids.” 

This, in reality, is completely fair because we received gifts from our family on Hanukkah. However, the Hanukkah spirit is always lacking compared to the hype that Christmas gets. Each year, Jews are presented with a tiny aisle end-cap in Target to prepare for Hanukkah. You may find the most simple menorahs and possibly the blandest wooden dreidels there are; if you’re lucky. There is no fun and conventional holiday extravagance like there is with Christmas, the holiday that gets a whole section in every store you could think to enter. 

More than ever lately, it’s frustrating when people talk about having holiday parties for a big group but all they discuss is Christmas music, Christmas decorations, Christmas cookies, and Secret Santa. Hearing Christmas music non-stop in public all season is even more frustrating. I’ll admit, some of it is tolerable or maybe even enjoyable. In fact, I have a special place in my heart for “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses. However, it’s not the same reused bell sounds that’s heard every single place you go. Also, ALL SEASON??? People have things to do and places to be throughout December and there’s no way that same music helps them function all month long. Whenever I make remarks about Christmas music, I always get in return, “Well what about Hanukkah music?” The only music Hanukkah gets is what’s played in religious schools, services, that bad Adam Sandler SNL skit from 1994, and maybe your elementary school holiday program that attempts to be inclusive. So no, I don’t want to hear “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” any more than I want to hear “Jingle Bells.” 

Another bothersome part of the holiday season is that we get breaks from school and work to be with our family around the same two weeks every year. But what happens when you only celebrate Hanukkah and it happens to fall right between Thanksgiving and Christmas on many years, the time we do go back to a regular schedule? It can’t be used to rest and enjoy the holiday like Christmas. I’ve never been able to travel much and be with loved ones from afar, especially if I’m busy taking exams during the day and studying for the next ones at night instead of having a special dinner and lighting candles. Although Hanukkah is great because it lasts for eight days, it’s practically impossible to spend each night with your family because everyone’s lives have yet to wind down. 

On Christmas day, it’s a stereotype for Jews to go to movie theaters and Chinese restaurants because they’re two of the few places that are actually open. Whenever this happens, it’s so eerie to go outside and feel the cold air mixed with a lack of public commotion. Christmas has always felt out of place because it seems like it’s meant for the whole world except the small Jewish community. What is meant to be a time for gathering and joy feels like exclusion and lack of understanding for others.