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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Upsize the turkey; Santa’s in town

Hundreds of people gathered to listen to Christmas carols and see Santa Claus at River Park Square on Friday night in downtown Spokane. The mall lit its massive Christmas tree and offered photos with Santa.
 (Jed Conklin / The Spokesman-Review)

To the sound of trumpets, bells, and cheering good little boys and girls, Santa Claus descended the River Park Square escalator under the glare of a spotlight and proclaimed the Christmas season officially open.

“You know what it’s sounding like?” he asked. “It’s sounding like Christmas.”

But the Bragg family wasn’t buying it.

“If we knew this was going on, we probably would have avoided it,” said Aaron Bragg, who was eating dinner in a secluded location in the mall where carols couldn’t be heard. “We kind of like Thanksgiving, and it kind of gets overrun.”

Still, hundreds came to the mall’s lighting of its massive Christmas tree Friday night and many lined up afterward to get pictures with Santa.

While some said they struggled a bit to get into the Christmas spirit a week before carving the turkey, others said they’re happy to see the season start before Nov. 25, the busiest shopping day of this year.

“We can start early and just enjoy the festivities and be thinking about it for a longer period of time instead of just between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Spokane resident Susan Hardy, who bobbed her head to the carols. “Those of us who are Christians are celebrating Christ’s birth all year long.”

A few stores seem to understand the public’s unease with the promotion of Christmas before Thanksgiving. Nordstrom has signs in its window declaring “Happiness is celebrating one holiday at a time” and a guarantee not to pull out the wreaths and greens until Nov. 25.

“Christmas isn’t until the end of December,” said Ajai Combelic, a Lewis and Clark High School student. “I think it’s overkill.”