I cannot believe that I am actually sitting here and writing this over a week before Halloween in October, but I feel a strong need to quell some of the excessive excitement for the upcoming holiday season long before it gets here. A warning to those who want the holiday season to perpetuate year round: the main point of this article is to argue for Disney not to decorate its parks for the holidays until after Thanksgiving. The feelings of anger and frustration expressed here are directed just as much at retail stores and other venues as much as they are at Disney, but this is a Disney website and I truly thought that Disney was better than what they have been doing in recent years with their premature decorating.
I saw a commercial the other day for upcoming holiday sales (and by “upcoming” I mean six weeks from now) at large businesses; I was disheartened to see that the commercialism of the holiday season has stretched now to essentially begin at the first sign of a leaf changing colors. I am currently a college student in the Midwest, and it is nowhere close to winter right now–temperatures in the 60s and sunny skies are not indications to me that sleigh bells are ringing in the not-so-distant future. Furthermore, the recent DIS Unplugged episode in which the team members discussed their preference between Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party reinforced the group’s love of the last three months of the year, particularly when it comes to experiencing Disney (which is a love that I equally share), but they unfortunately are only worsening the problem by getting their large (and hopefully getting larger) viewership base thinking about a holiday season that does not begin for well over a month.
Some will read this article and say that I hate Christmas and that I am overreacting to a problem that does not exist; contrarily, I am writing this because I love the holiday season so much that I cannot bear to witness its magic to be sucked out by corporate greed without putting up a fight. Yes, Disney is a publicly traded corporate entity whose main objective in its existence is to turn the largest profit possible for its shareholders, but it is also the national–if not global–symbol for wholesome family fun with actual psychological effects, otherwise known as Disney magic. At first glance it seems as though the combination of timeless Disney magic with the wonderful magic of the holiday season would create something of epic magical proportions, an experience that one truly would want to have on an autumn day in early November; however, Disney unfortunately cancels out both the holiday magic and that of its own by essentially having eight straight weeks of Christmas decorations, music, and ride overlays at its parks. The special feeling of December is corrupted when Christmas events have been for three or four weeks leading up to the month; in other words the holiday feeling gets old by the time the holidays actually roll around, leaving many feeling as though they did not get much out of the Christmas season when it was actually the Christmas season because they were tired of everything by the second week of December.
So what is one to do about this issue? Going to a Disney park in October is great for experiencing Halloween and the transitional season that is the fall, but coming back a week later and seeing snow, peppermint, and Santa does not seem to be a logical next step. Unfortunately, the best answer is to avoid the Disney parks between Halloween and Thanksgiving if you share my sentiments regarding the appropriate length of time for seasonal decorations in order to maximize the true magic of many people’s (including my own) favorite time of the year. Even though they would not care at all that a small number of people avoid them for one month of the year because they have thousands upon thousands of other people who will replace the boycotting visitors, I wish Disney could understand that they do not have to be like other major businesses; Disney, for just about everyone who reads this site, is unique in its ability to evoke nostalgia and warm feelings in just about everything it does, and it does not need to rely on an extended Christmas season to generate greater revenue from the paying public. If they could be the model for containing the holiday season to the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, perhaps it would send a signal to other businesses that people do not need to be enticed by the holidays in early November in order to spend money and that the holiday spirit is more evident throughout the country when there is truly only a short few weeks in order to express those special seasonal feelings instead of over two months from November through a few weeks into January.
I am not arguing for some kind of petty petition to boycott Disney until they change their decorating policies; I am simply expressing my own lamentation of the sad state of corporate Christmas in this country and my hope that things will get better so that we can have enhanced levels of spirit and kindness during the most wonderful time of the year at the most wonderful places in the world, the Disney parks.
Images: The DIS