The best way to ward off consumerism this Christmas season is to give thanks for what you already have and savor the holiday that celebrates gratitude: Thanksgiving.
In Nathanael Meadowcroft’s Oct. 27 piece titled “Jingle bells before the turkey sells,” he argues that Americans don’t need to wait until after Thanksgiving to turn on Christmas music. Meadowcroft’s primary argument is that Christmas music fends off consumerism and encourages celebrating the love of God and family, but Meadowcroft’s plan overshadows a uniquely American and Christian holiday that promotes a love for God and family that remains nearly untouched by 21st century consumerism.
Thanksgiving originated as a Day of Thanks to God in 1621, when Christian settlers dedicated several days to feasting and thanking God for preserving them during the Starving Time, a famine that killed half of the Plymouth settlement. Americans today are wealthier and more selfish than they ever have been. Fully celebrating Thanksgiving reminds Americans to praise God for the comforts they have been given. Turning on Christmas music in early November bypasses Thanksgiving, robbing Americans of one dedicated day to experience the peace that comes from expressing gratitude.
Meadowcroft holds that a single month is not sufficient time to celebrate Christmas. Instead, he says the Christmas season should be more than doubled to increase the joy it brings. An overextended Christmas season, however, can cause Dec. 25 to become an anticlimactic event, like the arrival of the turkey after eating too much mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.
Because Thanksgiving is mainly celebrated by Americans, Meadowcroft argues that it does not have the gravity to act as an anchor for the celebration of a worldwide holiday. This argument, however, diminishes the importance of every other “America-only” holiday, such as Fourth of July.
The Roman Catholic Church begins to celebrate Christmas — an originally Christian holiday — four weeks before Christmas Day, which means it starts celebrating after Thanksgiving. This is the earliest the holiday is traditionally celebrated in the Christian faith, and that’s when we should start listening to Christmas music.
In its rightful place, Christmas music does remind us of the real reasons to celebrate Christmas, as Meadowcroft asserts. But an oversaturation of Christmas music renders the catchy tunes and meaningful lyrics annoying rather than insightful and touching. In order to fully enjoy Christmas, we’re going to first give thanks and fully appreciate Thanksgiving.
If that makes us grinches, then paint us green.
Mr. Bennett is a junior studying economics and journalism, and Ms. Patrick is a senior studying history and journalism.