Editor's note: This column appears in a point-counterpoint regarding holiday shopping. Read this column's corresponding counterpoint here.
Christmas time is near, which means so too will the decorations, sales promotions and red Starbucks cups appear. While many Americans embrace this onslaught of commercialization around Christmas, others criticize its early arrival. However, this criticism is often unfair and short-sighted, especially in the case of early Christmas shopping.
Completion of gift-shopping is perhaps one of the most exhilarating and freeing feelings. Gone are the combined burdens of finding not only the time, but also the monetary ability to complete your shopping for that perfect gift. To criticize others for taking a jump-start is inconsiderate. Many Americans simply wish to take advantage of early promotions that major retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon have offered earlier than usual in recent years. These deals are beneficial for the average consumer to ensure a low overall cost for the gift-giving season’s inherently pricey endeavors.
This year, retailers such as Toys “R” Us, JC Penny and Best Buy are taking advantage of the crowd that begins shopping on Thanksgiving. About half of the people surveyed via Dealnews said they would be shopping on Thanksgiving Day. While there are protests regarding retailers staying open on Thanksgiving, the workers can also benefit — some stores either paid workers for holiday hours or paid overtime for the entire shift.
These extra wages can cover the costs of the holiday season accrued by workers. Aside from presents, other common expenditures include flights, decorations and lodging.
For this reason, many workers choose to pick up these Thanksgiving Day shifts. Jim Sluzewski, Macy’s senior vice president of corporate communications and external affairs, said that Macy’s filled almost all positions needed for this year’s early opening with workers who opted in. If regular employees did not volunteer, seasonal workers were hired who only work during the holidays and other busy times of the year.
Those who complain about people starting their Christmas shopping early are just grinches. If people want to procrastinate, they can, but enforcing this standard isn’t a battle worth fighting. It is counter-productive to infringe upon anyone’s experience of the holiday spirit — even in something as banal as holiday shopping — and unfair to allow one’s own personal realizations of procrastination to corrupt others’ eagerness.
The holiday season is considered a “season” for a reason. While the official boundaries of the season may be blurry and expanding, it is ultimately left up to each individual to decide when to start celebrating. It is petty to argue about the non-existent boundaries of an undefined timeline. Just as choosing which holidays to celebrate is a personal choice, so is choosing the time people start to prepare for them.
Vernon is a PACE freshman from Houston. Follow Vernon on Twitter @_emilyvernon_.