Duquesne Debates: Is November too early for Christmas lights?

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Authors are members of the Duquesne Debate Team

Nicholas Freilino | Duquesne Debate Team

AGAINST: Putting up Christmas lights on Nov. 1 is potentially the most deranged and corrosive idea that has ever befallen American society.

The blatant erasure of Thanksgiving, the most American of holidays, that is implied by putting these decorations up is sickening.
Every aspect of Thanksgiving is deeply American, from its roots as a colonial power convincing a native population they only wanted to share their land (spoiler alert: they lied) to its current status as a day for uninformed individuals to distract themselves from the dire state of the world with their modern-day equivalent of bread and circuses: turkey and NFL football.

Thanksgiving is a necessary part of American society, just like Flag Day, the 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and all the other holidays that come around once a month to distract Americans from the fact that their society is crumbling around them.
While Christmas is, indeed, the mother of all distractions, it is important for Thanksgiving to remain as a buffer due to its overwhelming message of complacency.

On Thanksgiving, everyone is expected to “count their blessings” and be happy for the situation they are currently in in life, even if they know for a fact that their position in the world is anything BUT a blessing.
Christmas, however, is all about giving, ensuring that the less fortunate have something, whether they be needy children or homeless people who rely on the kindness of others to make it through the harsh winters.

In its current state, confined to the month of December, Christmas has a message that giving feels good and so you should give to others for your own benefit.

There is such a thing as having too much of something. An additional month of Christmas could dilute the holiday season.

However, if that spirit of giving was able to permeate throughout the entire year, we might devolve into a society where people start to wonder why the responsibility for giving is placed on them and not the people in our society who have the most to give: namely the upper classes who have money, and the politicians who have power which can be used to improve the quality of life of their citizens.

If Americans ever took hold of this idea, it could be used to topple the very idea of American life, which is, in essence, the idea of Thanksgiving; you have enough as it is, so stop asking those who have more than you for anything, and be grateful that we let you keep any of the measly earnings that you make working for us.

Plus, imagine all that money wasted on an electric bill. How about donating that to a family in need instead of blinding the neighborhood with your inflatable Santa.

So this year, instead of putting up your Christmas decorations, do the American thing; eat some turkey and mashed potatoes, watch the Dallas Cowboys lose, and fall asleep on the couch, the only time you can actually realize the American Dream.

Allison Rousu | Duquesne Debate Team

FOR: There are many things to critique about the extended Christmas season.

Every retail employee knows the pure horror of hearing “Last Christmas” by Wham! for the fourth time in one shift. However, while nights are getting longer and seasonal depression starts to set in, Christmas lights add an extra glimmer of light to an overall depressing season.

While Christmas stands for commercialism and historically-inaccurate nativity scenes, Christmas lights stand for hope and community.

The importance of Christmas lights standing as a glimmering beacon of hope only grows as we pass Daylight Savings Time. As the days get shorter and the nights get darker, Christmas lights offer a little bit of illumination in an otherwise dark time.

The trees are losing their leaves, and a city like Pittsburgh can get quite visually unappealing during the winter.

Quite simply, Christmas lights are pretty and harmless. If anything, putting up Christmas lights can be beneficial to mental health due to a minor dopamine release.

As the nights get longer and Seasonal Affective Disorder kicks in, putting up Christmas lights can be our first line of defense against the evil that is Daylight Savings Time.

Beyond warding off darkness with Christmas lights, the lights stand for a sense of community, something we have lost in recent years.

This past Halloween, several new homeowners noted the decrease in trick or treaters due to the prevalence of trunk or treats, where kids drive to a parking lot in daylight to collect candy from “trusted adults.” This essentially is ruining the spirit of the holiday just because the U.S. doesn’t have walkable neighborhoods and parents don’t want their kids taking candy from strangers as is their right as American citizens.

With the community element of Halloween utterly destroyed by helicopter parents and that one guy who put razor blades in candy, Christmas decorations are all that neighborhoods have to prove that a sense of community is still alive.

Neighborhoods have an obligation to put up these lights as soon after Halloween as possible to blind drivers to their shame as a shell of a once vibrant community.

Suggesting that decorations should wait until after Thanksgiving is simply ridiculous considering Thanksgiving does not stand for inclusive community, but rather your blood relatives including that one uncle who truly should not be allowed to attend family gatherings after posting so many conspiracy theories on Facebook.

Holiday events like trick-or-treat and setting up Christmas lights are meant to be enjoyed by the entire community, not just those closest to you.

These events bring people together in a way that transcends empty gratitude and dry turkey.

Christmas lights are a beacon of hope and community that shouldn’t be restricted to solely one month. Afterall, it takes so much time and effort to put lights up, it’s practically wasteful to not have them up for over a month.