Should Christmas decor wait until after Remembrance Day?
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in some retail stores.
And that’s too soon, says 90-year-old World War II veteran, Cletus Henderson. “It spoils Remembrance Day,” he says.
Others at the Montgomery Legion in Ottawa agree. “It’s disrespectful to have Santa Claus coming in with the veterans, don’t you think?” asks Bob Arnold.
Many retailers agree. Mary Cassetta works at Ottawa clothing store, Poised. She says this time of year should be all about the veterans. “You wouldn’t see a Christmas decoration in here before Remembrance Day,” she says.
The idea is catching on. In a recent survey by SQM, 500 Canadian adults were asked, “Should businesses wait until after Remembrance Day before focusing on the holiday season?"
78% of those surveyed felt that the beginning of any holiday-related festivities should wait until after Remembrance Day, with over half of the respondents indicating that businesses should actually wait until the beginning of December.
For the most part, it seems to be major retail chains that are pushing an early start to the Christmas season. And that creates pressure for local, independent stores to follow suit.
Andre Schad of Schad clothing store says they won’t put up a Christmas display out of principle. But he understands if other retailers feel the need to keep up with their big box competition. “So I really don’t blame the retailers if they wanted to do that,” says Andre Schad of Schad clothing store. “We personally won’t, but it’s really… we have to compete.”
Potential customers have mixed opinions on the subject. Zak Armengol says retailers should show some respect. “It takes away from the veterans. It takes away from the memory of them,” he says.
Krista Hart says you can honour veterans and acknowledge Christmas at the same time, especially when those veterans fought for our freedom. “Freedom for religion, if people want to celebrate Christmas,” she says. “I don’t think it’s taking away from them in any way whatsoever.”
Even back at the Legion opinion is mixed. Lionel Rowe says what really matters is that people remember. “As long as people are wearing the poppy and they remember,” he says. “If some store chooses to put up a Christmas tree, I don’t think that’s an issue for the Legion.”