BYU students say early Christmas decorations are not ‘taboo’

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Employees at the BYU store set up their Christmas merchandise. BYU students say they usually wait to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. (Robyn Christensen)

In the thick of holiday season, BYU students discuss whether or not it is OK to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving.

Google search trends for Utah show that the term “Christmas decorations” has reached a peak everyday in the week since Halloween, with the highest peak on Nov. 4.

A graph of Google trends from Nov. 1 to Nov. 8 shows the search patterns of the term “Christmas decorations.” Students at BYU say it is OK to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, even if they personally choose to wait. (Graphic from Google Trends)

BYU student Caleb Gardner said he felt like fall decorations should stay up until Thanksgiving then Christmas decorations can be put up the next day. He said he thinks fall should last through Thanksgiving and once it ends, Christmas can start.

With stores putting out decorations in early November, people have access to decorations weeks before Thanksgiving. Hawaii-based Instagram influencer and BYU-Hawaii graduate Maddie Castellano posted about decorating early for Christmas and said setting up the Christmas decorations is one of her favorite days of the year.

However, some feel that Thanksgiving deserves its moment.

“I don’t care if other people do it, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday,” BYU student Elizabeth Oldham said of decorating for Christmas.

Thanksgiving is generally viewed as a time to be grateful, but can be overshadowed by the “Christmas creep” defined by the Mirriam-Webster dictionary as the “gradual lengthening of the Christmas season, with ever earlier displays of lights, wreaths, and decorated trees, insistent advertisements of holiday sales for consumerist profiteering.”

A survey conducted by YouGov showed that 19% of U.S. adults started decorating for Christmas mid-November before Thanksgiving, while another 19% decorated the day after Thanksgiving. Additionally, 23% said they get their inspiration for decorating from social media.

Research done by the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that homes with decorations on the exterior of the home communicated “friendliness and cohesiveness with neighbors.” The study had participants rate photographs of homes and front yards, and found that homes with Christmas decorations were rated higher for openness and friendliness.

With the study’s implication that homes that decorate for Christmas are more “cohesive” within communities, BYU students said they based their opinion of Christmas decoration on their families’ holiday traditions. Gardner said as a college student he still needs to buy Christmas decorations before he can decorate his own home.

BYU student Nic Broderick also said he mostly based his opinion off of when his family decorated, which wasn’t until mid-December. Still, he said he doesn’t think decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving is taboo.

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