When you walk into Starbucks, you might notice a holiday wonderland inside the cafe despite the fact that spooky season just ended. Holiday decorations are all around and gift wrapped presents are on display. At the Starbucks in the College Park Shopping Center, holiday music is blasting through the speakers.
This ambiguous stage after Halloween, when it’s getting colder but not winter yet, begs the question every year: Is it okay to get into the holiday spirit before Thanksgiving?
Junior biochemistry major Pranoy Basu isn’t a huge fan of going straight into holiday mode right after Halloween.
“It’s kind of annoying, just seeing Christmas slowly take over the fall months,” he said. “It’s not offensive or anything. I don’t hate it that much. It’s just annoying.”
Sophomore architecture major Nina Antomattei also agrees that it’s too early to get into the spirit.
“I feel like the time when it’s Christmas, around the two weeks leading up to it, it’s not as special as it’s already happening so early,” Antomattei said.
But Andrew Meyer, a sophomore architecture major, doesn’t think dragging out the holiday season affects the actual day of a holiday.
“I feel like nothing really compares to the actual day,” he said. “Even if you are hyping it up … it’s not going to be as good as Christmas Day in my opinion.”
This year, Hanukkah begins on the evening of Nov. 28, just three days after Thanksgiving.
Sophomore English major Rachel Morris, who celebrates Hanukkah, said she prepares for the holiday depending on the date Hanukkah falls on, which changes every year since it is based on the Hebrew calendar.
“If it falls around like Thanksgiving time, then I’ll be more focused on Hanukkah,” she said.
Junior neuroscience major Anna Castro, who celebrates Christmas, said early November is a bit premature for her to get into the holiday mood, but she likes to listen to holiday music before Thanksgiving in preparation for the season.
The early store advertisements don’t bother her either, she said. She likes that it reminds her there is something to look forward to.
“Honestly, I am ready for the holidays,” Castro said. “I am really excited to go home and not be stressed out about work.”
The pressure to buy your loved ones presents for the holiday season might be earlier this year due to major disruptions in the supply chain — the system that helps get products to customers.
“During the pandemic, many people substituted live traveling and going to concerts and shows for domestic purchases to improve home offices or to give themselves places to exercise indoors,” said Thomas Corsi, a professor in logistics and transportation in the University of Maryland’s business school.
Corsi explained the pandemic caused high demand in products, which also impacted the resources needed to move these products around. If more products are needed, then more containers and more shipping trailers are also needed.
“Now we have 30 percent more containers and 30 percent more goods being purchased, most of them coming from Asia. And that means a lot more traffic,” Corsi said.
With such a high surge in demand, the ability to handle the increased traffic of products cannot be generated instantly, Corsi explained.
In normal circumstances, this would be difficult to handle. However, the impact of COVID-19 and health restrictions have affected other important players in the process, Corsi said. This includes the longshoreman who loads and unloads the containers, the trucks and truck drivers who carry the containers to the warehouses and the warehouses themselves, where there is limited space.
This disrupted cycle and scarcity of raw materials, has resulted in supply shortages and shipping delays.
The rise in demand and shipping rates have led to an increase in prices.
“You’re gonna see deals perhaps not as great as you had in the past just because the supply isn’t there,” said Corsi. “But Black Friday sales will still exist.”
So, what is the bottom line? You might want to start tackling that gift list if you haven’t already.
Meyer said that despite the obstacles presented by the supply chain, he probably won’t get his presents early as he tends to procrastinate.
“I really do like making things homemade, so I don’t think it’s too much of a problem for me,” he said.
Whether people celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any winter holiday before Thanksgiving or not, students agree they are looking forward to the holidays.
Meyer said he is going to have a ‘friendsgiving.’ Antomattei said she is looking forward to her birthday, which falls on Christmas Day.
Morris is excited to get into the winter spirit.
“I love once all the decorations come out and everything like the mistletoe … even if I don’t celebrate it, it just gets you in like the winter mood, and it’s fun,” Morris said.
She also said that she is excited for Hanukkah since it’s her favorite holiday.
“I think it’s nice to see people happy about any holiday really,” Meyer said.