As a Parent, I Feel Holiday Pressure the Second Halloween Ends



  • Though the winter holidays are full of joy, for many they can also be full of pressure.
  • I’ve noticed that the holiday season is starting earlier each year.
  • While shopping for Halloween decorations, I noticed more holiday stuff than spooky decor.

Last year, a week before Halloween, my son wanted to get some more decorations for our house. We tried going to a few local stores, but the ones we visited had paltry displays of Halloween decor. The Christmas items, though, were on full display — and Christmas music was blasting.

This year, I started seeing holiday catalogs, ads, and holiday-related news stories even earlier in October. Once again, I couldn’t find last-minute Halloween decorations because the Christmas merchandise had already taken over.

The commercial aspects of the winter holidays — generally Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve — now seem to start before Halloween.

This phenomenon is called ‘Christmas creep’

For years, retailers have seemed to be hanging up holiday decorations and playing Christmas music earlier and earlier — a phenomenon known as “Christmas creep.”

Christmas trees ready for purchase on October

A store the author visited on October 28.

Courtesy of Janine Annett



Last year, people were encouraged to shop early because of supply-chain issues. The National Retail Federation recently suggested that retailers have been offering early deals this year because many people have concerns about rising inflation and want to spread out their purchases to help manage holiday costs.

That’s understandable, since many people spend months (or even years) paying off holiday-related bills. But the message to shop early isn’t necessarily alleviating holiday pressure and the financial burden — it might just be adding to it.

The winter holidays are full of joy. But for a lot of people — including parents, retail workers, factory workers, package carriers, and other workers with end-of-year deadlines — they’re also full of stress. There’s a feeling of already being behind for something that hasn’t happened yet.

And usually it’s women who are in charge of making the holiday magic happen: coming up with holiday menus, shopping for food and decorations, preparing meals, cleaning the house, making plans with friends and family, coordinating travel plans, coming up with ideas for presents, buying presents, sending holiday cards, wrapping gifts, and so much more.

I want to enjoy the holidays

Elaine Rodino, a psychologist in private practice in State College, Pennsylvania, recommends managing holiday stress and pressure to do more earlier by creating a thoughtful budget and sticking to it.

Rodino added that there’s no need to go overboard on gifts. “No one has ever come to therapy because they didn’t get enough Christmas gifts,” she said.

She also recommends taking time for self-care activities during the frenzy of the holidays like reading a book, taking a bath, or going for a walk — to try to slow down and enjoy the less commercial aspects of the season.

For me, I’ll enjoy what’s left of the Halloween candy and celebrate Thanksgiving on its own — largely noncommercial — merits before diving into the rest of the holidays. And then I’ll enjoy them to the fullest.

Just don’t get me started on what constitutes proper Christmas music.



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