Thursday, November 28, 2013

Merry Christmas Creep!

Judging by all the buzz on the Internet the last week or so, some folks in the States are less than happy about how the holiday of Thanksgiving is being treated.

In short, one big family holiday where copious amounts of food are consumed is being eclipsed by another such holiday, namely Christmas. This year, many American stores -- perhaps a little too eager to kick off the shopping season -- have been putting up X-mas decorations and promotions a week or more before Thanksgiving. It all seems a bit unseemly for some.

"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" (1914) by Jennie A. Brownscombe

It’s like the main act of a concert taking the stage while the warm up band is still in the dressing room. It’s like being a little pushy with the Christmas spirit. Now in addition to the supposed "War on Christmas", there's a "War between Thanksgiving and Christmas". Only in America. It’s been dubbed “Christmas Creep”. 

Not only are some stores decking their halls prematurely, others are going a big step further. Some major retail chains, not satisfied with the recent practice of opening the cash registers one minute past midnight on Thanksgiving night (getting a head start on Black Friday, usually the busiest, some would say most gratuitously cutthroat shopping day of the year), have risked the ire and eternal condemnation of the public by announcing they will open on Thanksgiving Day itself.

Lights at home.
This is unprecedented for this sacrosanct feast day steeped in tradition, a day when loved ones travel from near and far to come together, eat, drink, give thanks, watch football, and try to avoid arguing politics over a carved turkey. My US-based Facebook friends, on both sides of the political divide, seem united in their disapproval of the idea that retail workers are being forced to skip all this and work on Thanksgiving, and I have to agree. 

Here in Finland, without another autumn holiday like Thanksgiving to feel overshadowed and unappreciated, Christmas Creep isn’t an issue.

The signs that the season is upon us are everywhere, in the stores, on TV, and most noticeably on Aleksanterinkatu, one of Helsinki’s busiest shopping streets, where the traditional Christmas lights were switched on already on Monday. At our house, we strung our outside lights last weekend, and we were by no means the first in the neighborhood.

I doubt anyone in Helsinki begrudges a little early Christmas cheer. Certainly not me. The lights are especially nice to see, what with the gloomy weather (not even any snow!) and the pitch-blackness that descends already at five o’clock. Any electric candle you can light in this cursed darkness is an early gift from St. Nick, if you ask me. 

Aleksanterinkatu at Christmastime. Photo by Sigketill.

Happy Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and yes, why not, even Christmas!


  1. "I doubt anyone in Helsinki begrudges a little early Christmas cheer."

    I do. They shouldn't begin before December.
    It's not like they're doing it for anything else than to sell you more stuff and they're going to continue it until New Year anyway (and then continue with that). A month's worth is quite enough, thank you.

  2. Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!
    Bring you Good wishes of happiness.

    Sorry for greeting you earlier,, just don't want miss saying this.
    By the way, I'm clotee. It's my first time visiting your blog. I am blogger too, and now try my best luck to open an e-store. Nice to know you.