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The Christmas Creep Phenonium: Why Christmas Comes Earlier Each Year

Christmas characters drawing elf Santa snowman reindeer

By Angela Kazmierczak

Many Christmas movies joke that a person is either scorching hot for Christmas or is the next Ebenezer Scrooge. In the eyes of Christmas fanatics, anything less of a ring-a-ling or hooray denotes an eviction notice from the North Pole, signed and delivered by Santa’s very own workshop helpers. 

Looking back in time, movies, migration, and Christianity have profoundly influenced Christmas traditions. Today, some claim marketing is another factor to add to the list. In fact, some are concerned that early marketing is infecting the original meaning of the holiday.

As first suggested by Merriam-Webster, some North Americans worry that the gradual lengthening of the Christmas season, commonly known as “Christmas creep”, is beginning to turn hearts cold and astray. They fear shopping and spending is becoming the emphasis instead of celebration.

As explained by marketing professor Herbert Kleinberger, for businesses, Christmas is a make-it or break-it time. Many stores begin advertising ornaments, deals, and chocolates as early as November to beat their competition. 

While some are fuming about it, others couldn’t be bothered and look forward to seeing displays in November. To them, the only rule of thumb for stores is that if the first snowfall hasn’t happened yet, the decorations belong in a box. Others claim it’s fair game if it’s not within the first hours of handing out Halloween candy.

So that leaves the question, are these early displays turning the season naught? It was time to ask NAIT students what they thought.

NAIT Television and Radio student, Nigel Gale, says he’s a big fan of Christmas, so he doesn’t have a problem with the early displays at all. He believes it helps Canadians endure the cold temperatures.

“Living in a very northern, cold part of the country, I find that Christmas gives us a sense of hope and helps us tough out the blistering -40 temperatures,” said Gale.

As for NAIT student Jamie North, he says he’s not reaching for decorations in October, but doesn’t feel strongly about the situation either. To him, however, it is odd for stores to display Christmas decorations two weeks before Halloween has even happened. 

“It hasn’t even hit me that Christmas is on the horizon, considering the busyness of school. But decorations are out at certain places, so I guess the season is upon us,” said North. 

In summary, Canadians have expectations for how Christmas will look, feel, and unfold each year. That includes expectations for when the holiday season begins and ends. Early displays are new to Canadians and, to some, it is outside the traditional experience.

Time will tell what the Christmas creep spells for future celebrations and how it may affect century-old traditions.

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