This or That: Christmas decorations before or after Thanksgiving

Price Wilborn, Commentary Writer

Once again, I have found myself asking students of Western Kentucky University only the deepest, hardest-hitting questions. Last time I asked what Hilltoppers thought was better: “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation.”

Halloween has since passed, which means Mariah Carey has once again defrosted to gain her 2021 royalties by the mass-listening of “All I Want for Christmas is You,” decorations are starting to go up all over and some stores have had their holiday selections displayed for weeks. Even the Christian Student Fellowship has put up lights next door to the Student Publications building, and they’re wonderful.

This go-around, I have once again asked a deep question, one more divisive than the last: Should Christmas decorations go up now, or should it wait until after Thanksgiving?

The responses I received did not disappoint and the results were much closer than last time.

60 percent of respondents told me decorations should not be put up until after Thanksgiving, 30 percent said they were okay to go up now and ten percent said it depends on what the decorations are.

I have mixed feelings on this issue. For much of my 18 years on this Earth, I have been staunchly on the side of waiting until after Thanksgiving. The past two or three years, however, I have found myself putting some decorations up early, and honestly, I love it.

Some students like Logan Struck, a freshman sports management major, believe that putting up a large amount of Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving is “kind of pointless.” In order to enjoy them to their fullest, it’s totally okay to put the decorations up before Thanksgiving. 

Others like Kelci Gaither, an exploratory freshman, believe that since “there’s not a lot of Thanksgiving decorations,” it is okay to put Christmas decorations up before the holiday.

The majority consensus I found, however, was that Thanksgiving should pass before Christmas decorations are put up, and there were several different reasons as to why this was.

Sean Ackerman, a freshman broadcasting major, told me that “it’s just more of a Christmas season in December than November. I’d rather look at them in December.”

Ben Novotnak, a senior business management major, said “I don’t think you should put them up before Thanksgiving. You should celebrate Thanksgiving like you celebrate Christmas.”

I found that this was a common theme in explaining why decorations should wait. Many feel that the feelings of Thanksgiving should not be marred by the upcoming Christmas season. Many people wish to “give the turkey its day,” after all.

The autumn weather, falling leaves and feelings that come with fall and Thanksgiving are ones that deserve to be kept with the month of November. 

There are some, such as Kristen Decker, a freshman liberal arts major, who believes that the argument is decided based on what decorations you wish to put up. Decker told me that it “depends on what you’re putting up. Christmas trees should wait, but lights are fine.” With LED and other colored lights being so popular today, Christmas lights are not that different. Putting up an entire tree, however, shouldn’t happen until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Many believe that Christmas time should be held off until after Thanksgiving because the feelings of the two holidays are completely different. The calm of Thanksgiving dinner brings peace before the sometimes hectic schedule of the Christmas season. Shopping for gifts, going to Christmas parties, wrapping up school or work and everything else that happens during the season can sometimes be exhausting.

At the same time, however, waiting to put decorations up until after Thanksgiving makes both holidays even more special. The feelings of thankfulness expressed during the Thanksgiving holiday can be given the full importance that many feel they deserve. The feelings of togetherness and reflection that come with the Christmas season are able to be given the full devotion that many desire to give them.

Personally, I believe that if you want to put your decorations up, go for it. If you want to wait, you do you. The Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays mean something totally different to each and every one of us, and I believe that you should be able to express those feelings however you feel fit.

Despite what I believe, however, waiting until after Thanksgiving wins this round.

With that being said, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I wish each and every one of you the best in the upcoming holiday season. May it bring you all the joy, happiness and togetherness that you deserve and need to close out this whirlwind of a year.

Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.