Is it Christmas? No. Simple.

Disney 212
I've a feeling this post is going to become an annual event. 

Earlier tonight, I was driving home with Flea when I saw that two houses already had Christmas trees decorated and twinkling in the windows. 

This is WRONG. 

I know that sounds judgemental doesn't it? I apologise. But I don't take it back. It is NOT Christmas. It is advent, which is a period of preparation for Christmas with its own traditions and celebrations. 

And secretly, deep inside, you know I am right. You know it's not Christmas. It's really not. I mean, it's November, for goodness sake. How is November Christmas??  It's not. FACT. 

Certainly, retailers will try and convince us that Christmas starts in the middle of October, but that's just because they want to flog more mince pies and Quality Street, and they think if we start buying presents in September, we'll forget what we bought, panic, and buy more stuff. 

But if we let the retailers dictate when Christmas begins then we lose touch with what Christmas actually is – a specific, seasonal celebration that has its own meanings and traditions. I want Flea to understand that, and I am enraged when commercial organisations try to take away the very special joy that is anticipating a special event.

Our house Christmas decorations never go up more than a week before Christmas, and that marks the start of our festive preparations – buying gifts, choosing a tree, sending cards. We trim the tree on Christmas Eve, after we come back from the church crib service. All of these things are more special and more exciting for happening at the right time, and when we've been looking forward to them.

If you're ever unsure about when is the right time to put up your Christmas decorations, then I whole-heartedly recommend THIS website –

What do you think? When do you kick off the Christmas celebrations? 

Please do comment even if you don't agree with me. I will almost certainly tell you that you are WRONG but you can call me Scrooge, if you like. I can take it. Just don't say Merry Christmas or I might actually have an aneurism. 


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 1st December 2011 / 12:52 am

    Oh man those web sites are probably some of the most pointless uses of domain names. I actually prefer splogs! 🙂
    I don’t have a problem with Christmas decorations going up after the start of Advent (which this year was the earliest it could have been – Sunday 27th November) due to Christmas Day falling on a Sunday. I live in a small Welsh town now and there are some really nice tasteful decorations in the town (switched on Monday, which is quite traditional in smaller towns) and in some people’s houses. We tend to wait until a week or two before Christmas (often we are away over the holiday itself so it is nice to have them up a little bit before).

  2. 1st December 2011 / 12:58 am

    I went to collect Monkey today and they already had Christmas decs up. Another friend put hers up at the weekend according to her FB status.
    I’m kind of like you. We try not to put up the decs too early but I do present buying as early as possible because I don’t do shops in December. But other stuff, yep, we save it for as close to Christmas as possible. Even if it is the school Christmas fair on Friday. Oh, and we’re going to the Christmas Markets 9-11th December but in my defence, that is the only time we can go this year!

  3. 1st December 2011 / 6:59 am

    Ohhhh the temptation is HUGE just to see how an anuerism is described on a blog…that aisde…Christmas decorations go up room by room in our house with the tree being put up last the weekend before Christmas a build up of excitment! Also trying to do the place all in one go would be a tad too exhausting….

  4. Nikki
    1st December 2011 / 9:26 am

    Hi Sally,
    Whilst I can see your point, I always go back to a comment made to me by a wise manager eon’s ago when I was expressing frustration about one of my underlings to him – she was slow, lazy even in my opinion. He replied that it was actually my failing. What? You idiot I thuought, of course it’s not my fault. Well actually I came round to thinkking he was correct. I was expecting (and demanding) that she perform at work just like I did – dedicated, punctual, organised and efficient and as she wasn’t living upto those standards, I assumed the worst about her. When in fact she just had a completely different approach to me. Once I’d accepted that we were different and that didn’t mean she was useless/wrong etc., we learnt to work together- even like each other.
    I think the same applies here – that just because some people do things early, don’t assume it’s just plain wrong – it is by your standards, but not by theirs. Getting the decs up early may be their tradition (not just influenced by the retailers you cynic). Don’t be so quick to judge.
    I wrote my Christmas cards earlier this week and husband being the helpful thing actually posted them on Monday so I had loads of comments like yours sent to me – “What are you doing Nikki – it’s November” – however, I do my cards early as I have a huge work project (which of course I’ll pitch to you lol) that kicks in the last 3 weeks b4 Christmas so I was just being organised – had never intended on posting them that early! It’s all about judging people by your expectations and standards.
    Everyone has their own traditions – no-ones are better than anyone else’s – their just different, and that’s the point.
    Sorry for the lenthy post!

  5. 1st December 2011 / 9:50 am

    Off topic but I love the word splog. It’s so pleasing.

  6. 1st December 2011 / 9:51 am

    Ah, we’re off to the markets too – we’re going on the 22nd though, which means either it’ll be super festive and lovely OR everything will have been sold and all the stalls will be empty husks.

  7. 1st December 2011 / 9:51 am

    It would challenge my creative writing skills, I know.
    I like the room at a time idea, though.

  8. 1st December 2011 / 9:53 am

    The thing is, I’m all about the live and let live in many, many areas of life. But some things are (in my view) wrong. Murder, robbery and premature Christmas festivities. I have said many people won’t agree and you’re entitled to your (incorrect) opinions, but I happen to think it’s just WRONG.
    (ps – the whole post is a little tongue in cheek, perhaps it didn’t come across)

  9. Nikkii
    1st December 2011 / 9:59 am

    We have a specifically timed build up too and it starts on 1st December. I love my tree, I love my twinkly lights and my shiny dangly things – no way I want them up for a measly old fortnight. If it stands still in this house it gets tinselled – it’s a lot of effort so I want as much enjoyment out of it as possible – like 5 weeks of it…. probably 6. Today we’ll mix the Christmas pud ingredients and soak them overnight to be steamed tomorrow. I’ve filled the kids a tin of sweets each for under the tree (nut free ones – a nightmare this year), they have trees in their bedrooms, ah hell I can’t move but I bang into a bauble. I love it!
    I say Hum Baw Bag Whittle….. 😉

  10. 1st December 2011 / 10:24 am

    Basically, you’re pretty much dead to me, now.

  11. Nikki
    1st December 2011 / 11:26 am

    In that case I’ll call you the grinch and be done with it 🙂

  12. 1st December 2011 / 11:33 am

    I am the Christmas scrooge, if I had my own way we wouldn’t put up any decorations and life would go on without it happening at all. I cant have my own way though, so I wrapped the pressies nearly 2 months ago to get that chore out of the way. But fear not, I have hidden the Christmas Tree….

  13. Nicki Cawood
    1st December 2011 / 11:39 am

    I have a burst of festive feeling today and listen to “All I want for Christmas” a few times on YouTube then put it away for a couple of weeks. Our Xmas tree goes up the second or third weekend in December, depending on how that falls date-wise after which we then start getting Xmassy, pretty much in line with the school nativity and what not.
    That’s when we REALLY throw ourselves into the festivities but I have to have the tree down on the 28th, can’t wait another minute longer. It just seems…. wrong to still have it up.
    So, will this send me too-soon hell? Let me know if it does and I’ll make sure I pack provisions 🙂

  14. AmsterdaMummy
    1st December 2011 / 11:41 am

    Over here in Amsterdam, Sinterklaas arrives on a boat from Spain the 2nd Saturday in November, he is then celebrated on 5th December, so the dutch don’t think it odd to get the decorations up 2nd weekend in November, not the tree I might add, but usually some form of light decoration outside in the garden, on the roof etc. Me personally, being english like to wait until December, well I get the stuff out of the attic, let it sit in the room for a few weeks because December is a really busy birthday,party month for us and eventually get something up the weekend before!!! But I’m with you.

  15. Kelloggsville
    1st December 2011 / 12:02 pm

    Hey Happy New Year. Christmas started so early around here, I assume it must be over already.

  16. 1st December 2011 / 12:39 pm

    Oh, I’m not quite THAT bad – I do really love Christmas, I just like to keep a bit special, is all.

  17. 1st December 2011 / 12:39 pm

    I think I’ll allow you to remain out of Hell, this seems reasonable to me.
    Phew. Bet you’re relieved, eh?

  18. 1st December 2011 / 12:40 pm

    Tsk. How could you come here with such reasoned explanation and good sense in my comments. Have you no heart? My argument is in ruins.

  19. Nicki Cawood
    1st December 2011 / 2:27 pm

    You’ve no idea. I may stockpile some festive spirit(s) just in case you change your mind though.

  20. 1st December 2011 / 4:41 pm

    How felxible are you? I agree about November but I think that as long as the festivities are contained in December (and until 12 days after the 25th if you’re being precise) it’s OK. I start listening to my King’s College Choir Sing CHristmas Carols CD on December 1st. It just feels right. LOL at that website.

  21. 1st December 2011 / 4:57 pm

    I think I don’t like the early onset of Christmas decos because it just seems to make the two weeks over Christmas and New Year something like ‘oh, when is it going to end?!’ Rather than something special and different for a couple of weeks I am already sick of it all by the time Christmas Eve arrives. Well, sort of sick of it. Certainly sick of it by Boxing Day. But Andy made an interesting point about decos and advent–in that case I can kind of understand it; but we all know it probably has very little to do with Advent.
    But then I also read a tweet by somebody who was lamenting all us Scrooges because she simply loves the season so much she wants the decos up as long as poss. That’s sweet. I understand her feelings even if I don’t share them. I don’t know if it matters or not, but she doesn’t have kids.

  22. 1st December 2011 / 6:49 pm

    I agree with you entirely. But:
    (1) Schools hav to be in Christmas mode well before Christmas
    (2) Offices too, if they are to celebrate Christmas before closing down
    (3) The Christmas lights and santas grottos in towns need to be up a few weeks before.
    Perhaps we should jus rename these all Advent celebrations, not starting before day 1, to leave Christmas to families starting Christmas Eve, We just need som new characters, such Father Advent etc. Presumably Coca Cola could invent some!

  23. 1st December 2011 / 6:56 pm

    Sod off Scrooge! I have been draped in tinsel since Monday. And I started baking mince pies in mid November. NO-ONE is going to rain on my Christmas parade!

  24. 1st December 2011 / 9:11 pm

    The only reason my tree hasn’t gone up today is because I couldn’t persuade my OH to go in the loft and get the decorations down! I can’t wait to put them up and get the Michael Buble Christmas album on in the car!

  25. 1st December 2011 / 9:49 pm

    Oh Sally I know you are just being a cheeky sod, but you have really annoyed me with this post ;0)
    Nobody, not even the overlord, can tell anyone when they can or can’t put up their Christmas decorations just like nobody can tell anyone not to put up decorations for Easter, Valentines or any other celebration.
    Now get over your grinchy self and put up some tinsel.

  26. 1st December 2011 / 11:54 pm

    I saw a house covered in Xmas decorations … 2 weeks ago. TWO WEEKS AGO. I had to resist the urge to knock on the door, kick their tree down and trample all over it. Suffice to say … I’m not a fan. November isn’t Christmas. November is November. I’ll put a tree up probably five days before christmas. Probably. Maybe. And breathe …

  27. 1st December 2011 / 11:57 pm

    I’m a little flexible – I can go a week either way, I think. But I think anything other than carols might be troubling to me…

  28. 1st December 2011 / 11:58 pm

    Yes! Exactly! I get so frustrated with those people who by the 29th are saying, “ooh, I want to get the house back already”. Well, of course! You put them up in November, you great ninnies!

  29. 1st December 2011 / 11:59 pm

    Fair points well made. I should probably picket the school though. Just to make sure they also know that they are perpetuating WRONGness.

  30. 1st December 2011 / 11:59 pm

    That’s not very festive, is it? Tsk. Where’s your good will to all mankind?

  31. 1st December 2011 / 11:59 pm

    I’ll make an exception for The Buble. Always.

  32. 2nd December 2011 / 12:00 am

    Oh Pippa, you adorable, crazy creature. You could not BE more wrong. I can tell everyone what to do. I just haven’t worked out how to make them pay attention…yet.

  33. 2nd December 2011 / 12:00 am

    I like the way your mind works. Deep breaths might be useful, though, if you don’t want to be arrested.

  34. 2nd December 2011 / 12:22 am

    Yeah, I’m with you actually. I force myself not to start getting Christmassy before December, but work dictates that I must. I try and do it in stages. Listening to Mariah Carey on day, a mince pie the next. I might mull something next week. Our Christmas tree is probably going up this weekend, which is early. But it’s a shared house and we all bugger off back to our family homes in a couple of weeks – it’s nice to have the tree up for more than a day. We’ll put presents under it as we wrap them throughout the month – that’s always nice. I think a lot of people put trees up early different reasons – one couple I know did it in November because they wouldn’t get to see each other again until Boxing Day.
    I also have a tradition of ‘fake Christmas’ with friends – getting all of those people I won’t see over Christmas, having roast potatoes and crackers and presents and wine. That’s in a week, I’m possibly even more excited about that than real Christmas. But any day where you might get roast potatoes is always gonna be pretty exciting.

  35. 2nd December 2011 / 1:55 am

    I said to Zack our decs would go up this weekend, but if he forgets, I might just try to put it off for a bit. I have to move a crap-tonne of furniture for our living room to actually *fit* a tree of any shape or size in it, and I really can’t be arsed doing that yet!
    Zack tried to tell me this morning that it was the start of Christmas.
    “No it’s NOT, Zack,” I said… “It’s the start of Advent, which is the counting down to Christmas.”
    He is happy as my dad bought him the biggest advent calendar, so that’s the main thing. Obviously he’s much more important to my dad than his one and only daughter, the light of his life… the blight of his bank… *sobs*

  36. 2nd December 2011 / 10:23 am

    ha ha ha, my husband will LOVE that website. if it were up to him “Christmas” would be two days and everyone would only get one present…Our decs are going up 10th Dec,and that’s only because it’s the only day we’re all home together. but I know plenty whose decs are up already.

  37. 2nd December 2011 / 11:46 am

    Okay then, Scrooge! 😉
    We are well and truly up for it already. The kids went to school in tinsel today!
    I did get a bit cross though when Actually Daddy rifled through the advent calendar pockets to see what was in store.

  38. 2nd December 2011 / 2:07 pm

    Fa la la la la, la la la la.
    Repeat after me.

  39. Nikki
    2nd December 2011 / 5:54 pm

    LOL – I AM that person :-)))

  40. Mum2BabyInsomniac
    2nd December 2011 / 8:32 pm

    Haha, mine has been up since the 20th of November! I love fairy lights and I am so excited this year. But I never would have put it up this early if it hadn’t been for Iyla. Christmas is just so much more exciting when you have children, even though she is only one and doesn’t have a clue what is going on!

  41. 5th December 2011 / 11:53 am

    Bah Humbug! I appreciate that November is slightly early, but it’s the one time of year that I can honestly say I have a smile on my face for 85% of the time. That’s a big lift. Just remembering back to how long Christmas eve always seemed to be brings all the magic back to me. However, I worry every year that the real reason we celebrate Christmas is lost and my true pet hate of the festive season is the shortening to Xmas. There is nothing guaranteed to make me break things than that. And I’m not a church goer, a devout christian or a catholic.

  42. Becky
    7th December 2011 / 3:39 pm

    We start Christmas on December 1st here. Only the tree goes up mind you, other decorations are done as and when over the next few weeks. Cards usually end up going out at the very last minute. I’m not a very organised person.
    I am concerned though that three weeks is a long time for a toddler, and I suspect that my son will be bored with the whole thing by the time Christmas Day actually arrives. So next year, when he’ll be two and a half, we will probably wait until at least mid-December.

  43. 10th January 2012 / 12:48 pm

    Maybe if retailers didn’t start putting their christmas stock out in september then when christmas actually happened in DECEMBER it would feel special and magical.