In England, the moment that supermarkets and shops sweep Halloween merchandise off the shelves, the whole country begins a countdown to Christmas.
Christmas is the highest spending holiday in the UK – followed by Easter and then Halloween. Companies make a lot of money selling presents, costumes, decorations and themed sweets, so they are eager for people to start buying their products as early as possible. This means that as soon as you have thrown away your ghost costume, put your face paint back in the cupboard, and cleaned up all the sweet wrappers from the floor, you have to start shopping again!
There's nothing wrong with a festive season, and getting excited for the upcoming holidays (who isn't looking forward to lots of food and presents with the family?) but personally, I don't think the “Christmas season” should start at the beginning of November. It hasn't even snowed yet!
Lots of companies in England have special advertisements or products that they only bring out at Christmas. Starbucks has “special” red cups; Coca-cola has the famous red Christmas truck that drives around the country and appears in its adverts, and specially decorated Christmas-themed cans.
Living in France, however, is a very different experience. I didn't see any Halloween costumes, sweets or decorations in the shops, and if I hadn't left the house on Friday 31st October I could have avoided the holiday altogether! The costumes I did see looked homemade, not shop-bought, and no children rang our doorbell shouting "trick or treat".
It's been almost a week since Halloween and I still haven't seen any Christmas merchandise in the town I live. I hope that nothing appears until December, when it actually feels like Christmas. When all you see is adverts for 3 months before Christmas reminding you how much you should spend, by December 25th you forget that there are other important parts of this holiday – like spending time with your family.
That's not to say that this year I won't be buying presents, decorating a Christmas tree and wearing a paper hat on Christmas Day – I love all of these things. But I'm happy that I don't have to think about it all until closer to the time!