Christmas Creep hijacks holiday season–you’re next, Halloween


I have no inherent problem with Christmas—he’s a fun holiday. The decorations are joyous, the food is delicious, the weather outside is somewhat chilly, and the fire is still delightful. But between earlier commercials and earlier decoration, Christmas has gotten greedy.

When I was in elementary school, this was not the case; Christmastime knew his place in the calendar. He began every year on Black Friday, which, believe it or not, started in the early morning following Thanksgiving. That’s right—once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, you could finish digesting your pumpkin pie before flocking to the mall to trample other people. Through the last week of November and the first three of December, people went crazy for Christmas, and justifiably so; he was, as the song famously puts it, the most wonderful time of the year.

But back then, Christmas waited his turn until Thanksgiving had passed. Not anymore.

Evidently, Christmas spent those long November days plotting how to seize the month from Thanksgiving, and those many years of scheming seem to have paid off. Christmas, and by extent Christmastime, has engulfed the holiday season in a phenomenon popularly known in the U.S. and Canada as the “Christmas Creep.” A fitting name, as Christmas is a little creepy, lurking around as Halloween draws to a close, ready to entice us with the promise of presents and treats.

During November, you can hardly turn without running into some reminder that there are less than 100 days until Christmas. Don’t believe me? Go for a walk in your neighborhood the week after Halloween. At least one of your neighbors will have already strung lights across their house and placed an inflatable snowman in the front yard in a display of spite against Thanksgiving. By the third week of November, many others likely will have followed suit. The autumn atmosphere that Thanksgiving brings has officially been killed.

If you are too lazy to venture outside, simply turn on your TV and wait for a commercial break. By the first days of November, when Halloween decorations are still being cleared out of front yards, dozens of companies release a swarm of Christmas-themed ads. Walmart, Lowes, Hyundai, Kay Jewelers, Denny’s, BestBuy—one after the other. Change the channel, and Coca-Cola, Audi, and Target are waiting for you with more. This year, K-Mart put all previous Christmas Creep commercials to shame after they released a Christmas ad in September.

Not cool, K-Mart. Not cool at all.

Ultimately, this is the source of the problem— Christmas, unlike Thanksgiving, owes his popularity to his excessive commercialization. The holiday is, at least in part, centered around gift-giving, which almost always requires purchasing. Because of the commercial aspect of Christmas, the holiday becomes inextricably bound to materialism and marketing, resulting in more and more Christmas commercials with each passing year.

I understand that the Christmas Creep revolves around money and is more of a marketing ploy than anything else. But frankly, it has begun to get in the way of the celebration of Thanksgiving. Take Black Friday. Since Christmas has crept further and further up the calendar, Black Friday, the official start of Christmastime, has crept up as well. As a matter of fact, it has crept right into Thanksgiving Day, interrupting the holiday and cutting down on time that was formerly spent surrounded by family and food and regretting—again—that we ate too much.

And maybe that isn’t enough for you. Maybe you hate Thanksgiving and are okay with Christmas overtaking it. But there is no sign of the Christmas Creep stopping, or even slowing for that matter. Christmas is the Juggernaut, and we have allowed him to gain momentum over the years. Remember how K-Mart released their holiday ad in September? How will it feel when Christmas overtakes Halloween? Or New Years? Or your birthday? The Christmas Creep won’t seem quite so harmless.

This is my problem with Christmas overtaking Thanksgiving. Not only is Thanksgiving a much more sincere holiday, emphasizing family over materialism, but clearly if we give Christmas an inch, Christmas will take a mile. It’s the seagull principle: give a seagull a piece of bread, and that bird won’t leave you alone until they day that you die. And probably not even then.

Ultimately, there is no truly justifiable reason for Christmas to start in Thanksgiving has ended. Twenty-five days of Christmas, plus seven (give or take) at the end of November, is plenty. And while Christmas’s head start does benefit department stores in terms of revenue, I think most people agree that holidays should be more than frantic cash-grabs for businesses to enjoy.

It bears repeating that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Christmas; I only ask that he know his place. As great as Christmas is, let’s slow down and take things one holiday at a time.