In the States, weâ€™ve adopted a national custom that starts each October with the jingling of the first Christmas bells of the season â€” its name: the Christmas Creep. It represents the beginning of the early Christmas shopping season and ushers in anxiety, irritation and, in some cases, revulsion.
“Man does not only sell commodities, he sells himself and feels himself to be a commodity.” â€”Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom (1941)
Growing up in the 1980s, I remember waking up the day after Thanksgiving to the sounds of Christmas carols on television. My family, still tired from the previous dayâ€™s feasting, would sit around the TV to veg. The day after Thanksgiving marked the true start of the Christmas season â€” something almost as magical as waking up on Christmas morning.
As an adult, stores get decked out in red and green lights while carolers on TV repeat the old favorites the week before Halloween. It boggles my mind.
I understand that retailers depend largely on holiday sales. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all within a five to six-week period, retailers stand to make huge gains. But competition has pushed them toward more aggressive advertising practices.
I walked into a Walgreens store in Hollywood last week and walked into a Christmas nightmare. Fake trees, tinsel and Bing Crosby bombarded me the moment I passed through the doors. A couple of days later I found a similar sight at a Home Depot. Not one week before there were plastic pumpkins and inflatable skeletons, now there are Christmas trees and wreaths.
â€ś… the rush to the season has left many of us with a feeling that time is slipping away. Weâ€™re already time-pressed and juggling too many things at once. â€ť â€” Renuka Rayasam, BBC
It felt like an invasion â€” an invasion on the other holidays that precede Christmas. There was no warmth or joy like in my childhood. And Iâ€™m not alone in this. A recent article by Renuka Rayasam of the BBC addresses the topic of nostalgia and how the Christmas Creep can ruin the nostalgia that should come along with the holiday season.
â€ś… the rush to the season has left many of us with a feeling that time is slipping away. Weâ€™re already time-pressed and juggling too many things at once,â€ť Rayasam wrote. â€śChristmas creep, experts say, also makes some of us feel robbed of not just time, but of our fond memories.â€ť
But nostalgia isnâ€™t the only psychological effect the Creep can have on us. According to Healthline.com, it can also dredge up stress, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy, something discussed often in articles about dealing with holiday stress — in fact, quick Google search will pull up dozens of them.
Given how much we know about stress and the holidays, it shouldnâ€™t be difficult to see how extending the holiday season can extend the stress.
â€śAn October promotion loses its power if shoppers believe they can still find the same stuff on sale in December or Januaryâ€ť â€” Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business
â€ś… there are risks to dragging out holiday deals for too long. Stores use promotions to convince shoppers to buy right away or risk losing out,â€ť Meyersohn wrote. â€śAn October promotion loses its power if shoppers believe they can still find the same stuff on sale in December or Januaryâ€ť.
A business can only have one â€śbest sale of the seasonâ€ť or â€śholiday blowout to end all blowoutsâ€ť. Consumers, regardless of socio-economic factors or life experience, can usually put two and two together and quickly realize that itâ€™s often better to wait for a better deal.
I truly canâ€™t describe the feeling Iâ€™d get the first time I heard a Christmas song on the day after Thanksgiving; I donâ€™t feel that anymore. Part of it stems from the fact that Iâ€™m still in Halloween and DĂa de los Muertos mode. Part of it is simply that excessive repetition eventually embeds an acrid taste in my mouth.
I miss the nostalgia that Iâ€™m certain Iâ€™ll never get back.