OFFICIAL START OF 2007 CHRISTMAS SEASON: November 18
OFFICIAL LENGTH OF 2007 CHRISTMAS SEASON: 38 days
You may now begin your anguished wailing, holiday preparations and/or metadebate over the perennial "War on Christmas."
I'd also like to interject a prediction about Christmas season length.
Most people would say that the maximum possible Christmas season length is 366 days (it begins Dec. 26 and extends through a leap year). I don't think this is the case.
The nitpickers' argument -- that depending on one's definition of "Christmas season," it might hypothetically be possible to start a Christmas season before the previous Christmas concludes -- is worth mentioning. But I'm not trying to talk about hypothetical maximums. I'm trying to talk about practical maximums.
In practical terms, the season is still nowhere near its possible length -- Christmas has already overrun Thanksgiving, and occasional sightings have been made indicating potential to similarly overrun Halloween. Obviously other holidays aren't a barrier. But there is one thing that can arrest a holiday buying spree:
Another holiday buying spree.
Thanksgiving and Halloween have little to no overlap with Christmas buying, which is why they have both been so ineffective at holding back Christmas season creep. They're both food-based holidays and Christmas is a merchandise-based holiday. The final pre-Christmas merchandise-based holiday isn't actually a holiday at all. It's the back-to-school rush, when not only all manner of supplies, but also clothes and accessories and technology, have to be procured.
So. I predict that the Christmas season's maximum upper bound is approximately 110 days. Beyond that, retailers are just robbing their own pockets -- money spent on children's gifts can't be spent on school necessities.
(Also, back-to-school traditionally heralds the start of autumn. Christmas has acquired the theme of a cold-weather holiday. You can somewhat get away with extending a winter holiday into fall, but never into summer. The cognitive dissonance would be too great.)